F.C. Barcelona was able to beat Valladolid by 4-1 on Saturday with superb performances by Neymar and Alexis Sanchez. The loss of the best player in the world by an injury, Lionel Messi, created new challenges for Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
The game’s scoreboard started quick coming from a corner kick, as Valladolid found their first and only goal at the 10th minute by Javi Guerra. With patience and chance creativity, Barcelona found the equalizer at the 14th minute with a tremendous shot by Sanchez, one of the best players in the pitch. With an inspired Neymar, flashes of a young Xavi and a fired up Sanchez, Barcelona was able to close up the game with beautiful goals, at the 52nd by Xavi, at the 64th once again by Sanchez and on the 70th by Neymar.
The spotlight for the game was on Neymar and he was able to step up and show the reason why he is ranked as one of the best in the world. The young Brazilian was able to show his magic not only through his dribbling skills, but also through his vision and his playmaking capabilities. Although all eyes were on Neymar, the star player in the field was Chilean speedster, Alexis Sanchez, who showed his superiority and maturity with not only his goals, but also with a selfless assist on the last goal.
On a different note, Barcelona’s defense is still adapting to the new style of defending and this can be crucial when confronting Real and Atletico. The team’s defensive line has to maintain a wider focus on the individualities of the opposite players and be ready to defend against free kicks and corner kicks.
Most of the teams in La Liga, with the exceptions of a few, are always the underdogs when it comes to playing Barcelona, and their tactics always seem to be very similar. Afraid of losing by a large margin of goals, Valladolid came out to the pitch very defensive minded, having almost the whole team in the defensive line every time Barcelona attacked, this is the reason why Martino has developed a stronger and faster counter attack, the inclusion of the long pass and the higher pressure of the defensive line.
Unfortunately, La Liga BBVA has lost much of its competitiveness over the years, the two reigning teams F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid always have the upper hand on every game, mostly because of their financial capability to acquire the most talented footballers in the world. The league is always defined by who has the earliest slip up and this season Real Madrid has already lost one game, which believe it or not can be crucial for the final clinch for the title.