If anyone was thinking that two consecutive 2-2 draws while dropping leads mean that the Barcelona machine is going through some sort of mini-crisis, came this 8-0 thrashing of Osasuna this evening at the Nou Camp, with Lionel Messi scoring a hat trick, David Villa scoring twice, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and an own goal to complete the huge win.
A statement was bound to arrive, and 5 minutes into the match, Barcelona were already ahead. Despite Andres Fernandez clapping his hands, encouraging his teammates, you had a feeling he was in for a long night. Eight minutes later and it was Fabregas. Half time? It was 5-0, with Abidal and Messi both hitting the woodwork in between. Barcelona didn’t stop, and there was no mercy from the Spanish champions.
The statistics may show that the visitors had 7 attempts at Victor Valdes’ goal, but I hardly remember them having any possession in Barca’s half. I’m pretty sure they don’t either. Guardiola’s side did take it easier in the second half, but still scored three goals, including one genius chip from Messi to Xavi, who scored with a perfect lob over Fernandez.
It was a Lionel Messi perfect football display. After the rough Nesta experience against Milan, playing against a Spanish defense that allows space and grazing freedom is a welcomed change. There was simply no stopping him. Cesc Fabregas and Xavi enjoyed the lack of anything resembling a decent defensive effort to set up chance after chance. When looking at the possession stats (82-18), it makes you wonder if Osasuna touched the ball at all besides re starting the match after conceding.
There’s nothing much to learn from this match but of the weakness in the La Liga. The Sociedad match was a fluke, a surprising bump in the road, nothing more, as Barcelona wait to have a fully fit defense once again. A great stat filler for Messi and Fabregas to show their full arsenal of skills while showing the world that this is still the most dangerous soccer team in the world when given any sort of breathing space when they attack.