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Neymar led the way with hat-trick PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Neymar led the way with hat-trick PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

  • More substitutions. Luis Enrique continues to constantly re-shuffle the lineup. From Levante to Malaga there were three changes, and from Wednesday to Saturday there were six more. Plus, for the first time, Xavi started a match this season. Luis Enrique keeps saying he needs all of his players, and the fact that only Vermaelen (injured), Masip (not yet cleared) and Luis Suarez (suspended) have yet to play, confirms this idea.
  • Defence. None of the changes have affected the performance of the defence this season. After six games the team have yet to surrender a goal and have outscored Liga opponents by an astounding 17-0. Against Granada, Mascherano and Mathieu had leading roles in halting the quick and dangerous counter-attacks of the opposition.

  • Killer back to back goals. It's quite a psychological advantage to score one goal immediately after another. In this game FC Barcelona did it twice. The first pair, goals from Rakitic (43') and Neymar (45') were especially decisive, coming just before the half.
  • Rakitic. The Croatian's role keeps getting more important every match. After his incredible goal against Levante, he scored again tonight with a wonderful header after coming from further upfield. He also never tires from stealing the ball in midfield. Tonight he received a loud standing ovation from the crowd when he left the game for Sergi Roberto in the 58th minute.

  • Messi and Neymar. Messi the playmaker and Neymar the goalscorer. Just as they did versus Bilbao and Levante, the Messi and Neymar tandem has become synonymous with scoring. Tonight they combined for five goals, making 11 so far in Liga play, six for Neymar and five for Messi. Messi has been especially proficient in the passing game, adding two more assists versus Granada, giving him seven on the season.


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