Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis: 5 Men who were brilliant for the Catalans
Barcelona's season was in a bit of an early mess when they welcomed Real Betis to the Camp Nou on Sunday. The Catalans had succumbed to a shock 0-1 defeat in the opening weekend against Athletic Bilbao, causing a rocky start to Ernesto Valverde's new season.
The Spaniard was under immense pressure after a relatively underwhelming 2018/19 season, where Barcelona won only the league and failed in Europe once again. Valverde, as such, was desperate to get back to winning ways against Real Betis but was missing quite a few important components in his team.
Both Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele were ruled out of the game with injuries. Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi was still not a 100% fit, which left Valverde with a decision to make during team selection.
The back 5 remained unchanged from the last game - Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal, with Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba making up the back four. In the midfield, Sergio Busquets was selected alongside Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong. Valverde was crippled with lack of first-team members in attack, so he opted for Rafinha and Carles Perez either side of Antoine Griezmann in a new-look front three.
The home team were shocked in the 15th minute when Nabil Fekir scored to give Real Betis the lead. However, Barcelona drew level through Griezmann in the 41st minute and went to the break with the score at 1-1.
In the second half, the Frenchman scored again in the 50th minute. Carles Perez added a third in the 56th minute, while Jordi Alba made it 4-1 in the 60th minute. Arturo Vidal came off the bench to score his first of the season before the away side got one back through Lorenzo Garcia. As a result, Barcelona successfully went on to grab their first league win of the season.
Ernesto Valverde will be pleased with the performance of these 5 men, who were brilliant against Real Betis.
#5 Arturo Vidal
The Chilean was brought on to replace Sergio Busquets in the second half, who had picked up an injury in the latter stages of the game. With Barcelona cruising at home, Valverde could afford to rest his midfield general. He opted for Arturo Vidal, hoping to generate enough steel in the midfield to see the game through. The Chilean, though, had other ideas.
Immediately after coming on, Vidal showed a desire to join the attack, running forward whenever he had the chance. His eagerness finally bore fruit in the 77th minute, when Barcelona broke free and the ball fell to Griezmann in the box. The Frenchman slid in to send the ball on to the path of the onrushing Vidal, who finished first time into the top right corner to score Barcelona's 5th of the night.