1. Suarez hasn’t lost it yet
Whether he’s able to maintain this level of form for a full season is another question, but today’s performance showed that Suarez still has at least some of his former brilliance in him. Even without taking his two goals into account, this was a much improved performance from start to finish. His linkup play, movement, and dribbling were all noticeably sharper than recent weeks, and he also set up several decent opportunities with his passing. After his struggles in the opening weeks, Barcelona supporters will be hoping that today’s performance is indicative of Suarez returning to his best rather than a false dawn amidst a steep decline. Given Suarez’s age, Valverde will also have a huge responsibility in rotating Suarez enough so that he’s able to stay sharp over the course of a long season.
2. Barcelona’s defensive concerns down the right
With Messi back on the right wing, Roberto at right back makes a bit more sense given his better understanding with Messi than Semedo. Unfortunately, this setup also makes for an extremely vulnerable right flank for Barcelona. Messi’s lack of defensive contribution is nothing new, but that combined with Roberto’s vulnerabilities defending and Pique struggling for form could give opponents a lot of opportunities down that side of the pitch. Roberto and Pique shared much of the responsibility for Huesca’s two goals today, and there’ll be much tougher challenges ahead against better opposition. Even with Rakitic likely to spend a considerable amount of time covering that side of the field, I expect better opposition will find a lot of joy attacking down their left against Barcelona this season.
3. Coutinho and Dembele continue to impress
Playing in a deeper midfield role again, Coutinho put in another impressive performance overall. His first half was somewhat mixed with a handful of nice touches but also some cheap giveaways. In the second half however, he was world class throughout with the highlight being his two incredible setups to Messi which led to a goal and a shot off the woodwork for the Argentine. Dembele’s game followed a similar sort of trajectory with a decent first half followed up by an even better second one. The French youngster has always had incredible pace and dribbling ability, but his goalscoring and linkup play already look considerably improved from his first season. After scoring just 4 in 23 matches last season, Dembele already has 3 in 4 this campaign. With Suarez showing signs of his old self and Messi playing as usual, Barcelona could have quite a potent attack if their two big signings from last season can continue this level of performance.