The Week In Barcelona: Super Suarez ensures all is back to normal at Camp Nou
The week in five words
Turn the alarm bells off.
What went well
The sigh of relief from Barcelona supporters when the first goal against Deportivo went in on Wednesday probably blew the island of Mallorca just that little bit closer to Italy. Were the entire cule collective facing east across the Med at the same time, of course.
As in the clash against Valencia, Barça were bossing the match but not turning chances into goals. But that 11th-minute Luis Suarez volley from a corner for opened the floodgates and then some; Barcelona have whacked 14 goals in two games with nada coming the other way, although Sporting had a very strong claim for a penalty in Saturday’s 6-0 defeat.
The two results proved the narrative of the more positive Barcelona fans during the past month of doom – and Luis Enrique to an extent: it wasn’t that Barça were playing particularly below their normal standards, it’s just that a string of goalkeepers were having some extraordinary games and that everything would come good in the end.
However, despite this huge hurdle overcome that keeps Barcelona in a very padded driving seat with full access to WiFi, it won't be a lot of fun for players and fans to see both Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid out and about in Champions League semi-final action. Barça will be twiddling their collective thumbs, looking to clear their TV backlog.
It must have been a pain in the bum to see Atlético Madrid relentlessly ploughing through the league’s schedule
Aside from a few Twitter comments around Luis Enrique’s love of the trainers-with-suit combination, it must have been a pain in the bum to see Atlético Madrid relentlessly ploughing through the league’s schedule with two typically Rojiblancos wins.
Although the two 1-0 victories against Athletic Bilbao and Malaga might be a touch different in tone to Barcelona’s own sins, it's a very true cliché that the triumphs are worth just the same amount of points, despite being achieved with 12 fewer goals.
Quote of the week
“It could be my Gijon genes, but I love this rhythm and adversity. I enjoy it more” – a wonderfully belligerent Enrique, speaking ahead of the Deportivo clash, admitted that he embraces his inner A-hole, before leaving the press conference with a burst of “I am, what I am”.
The need-to-know facts
- The six goals from the Messi, Suarez and Neymar trident puts them on 122 goals in all competitions this season, equalling the total of last year with four matches to play (three league, one Copa del Rey final).
- Barcelona have now scored against Sporting in 13 successive league fixtures, netting 38 goals overall for an average of 2.92 per game.
- Lionel Messi scored his first ever goal against Sporting at Camp Nou.
- Excluding Messi, the last Barça player to net Suarez's current tally of 34 league goals in one season was Samuel Eto'o in the 2008/09 campaign.
Video of the week
Barcelona's dam-bursting, eight-goal show up at Deportivo is the choice of the week. Mainly because Dani Alves has gone all quiet on the video front.
Winner of the week
With Messi seemingly happy to take on the role of unselfish provider for the last two victories, the performances of Luis Suarez have been quite breathtaking with eight goals in two games. That burst of activity should be enough to clinch the fought-over goalscoring ‘Pichichi’ title in Spain.
Although it would take some imagination from the minds of international club captains and managers who vote in the Ballon d’Or, Suarez's name might well be one to break up the Messi and Ronaldo monopoly for the 2016 prize.
Loser of the week
It’s very much with the nit-picking considering the resurge of M and S, but N has still been very flat in Barcelona’s two league encounters. Whether the Brazilian is suffering from physical, mental fatigue or just suffering a bit a dip, three weeks of no midweek football and then a rest from Copa America duties might be the pep that Neymar needs to get his mojo back.