Another clean sheet, Mathieu, Messi and Neymar, depth in midfield and patience and persistence were amongst the keys to the win
10:00PM Friday 17 Oct
Another clean sheet: It’s now eight league games on the trot without conceding a goal for Luis Enrique’s side, though Bravo’s 720 minute unbeaten record came close to being broken on Saturday, when Capa rounded him on 40 minutes, only to shoot wide with an open net in front of him. Three minutes later, he pulled off a great save to deny former Barça B team player Saúl Berjón.
Depth in midfield: Luis Enrique’s rotations meant a first start together in the middle for Mascherano, Xavi and Sergi Roberto, with the Argentinean taking on Busquets’ holding midfielder role. Iniesta replaced Sergi Roberto on 54 minutes after he was forced off following a collision with two Eibar players to give further evidence of the squad’s depth of talent in midfield
Persistence and Patience: Eibar certainly didn’t come into this game as meek lambs ready for the slaughter and their well organised and solid defence, in front of an inspired Irureta between the sticks, held out for nearly an hour before Xavi’s opener. Once again, the team showed patience and persistence in breaking down determined opponents.
Messi and Neymar on fire: With their two goals against the Basques the two South Americans have now bagged 15 league goals between them: 8 for Neymar and 7 for Messi, who also set up Xavi’s first goal.
Mathieu repaying confidence: Luis Enrique has shown his confidence in Mathieu since he joined in the summer, starting him in 7 of the team’s 8 league matches so far this season. The Frenchman has responded with some outstanding defending based on speed, power and positional sense, as well as the attacking intent he showed again against Eibar.