Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi were enough to lift Ronald Koeman’s side to second place in the league table. Having beaten Elche 3-0 last week, this was exactly the type of follow-up performance Barcelona needed.
It’s been an underwhelming season so far for the Blaugrana, but the results in their last two league games have brought them back to the title race.
Now, it is important they do not let their guard down. Although Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have one and two games in hand, respectively, Barcelona have put themselves in a very good position following Saturday’s win against Sevilla.
Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona too much for Sevilla
Once again, it was the Lionel Messi show as Koeman’s side recorded yet another key victory. The Argentine had a poor start to the season, with some even suggesting he was a finished product.
However, Messi is still flourishing at the Camp Nou and singlehandedly leading Barcelona's title charge once again. The Barcelona captain set up Dembele for the team's opening goal before scoring the second himself with a solo effort.
“We tried to pressure the opponent, and playing with three centre-backs and full-backs pressing high made it easier for us to not let Sevilla play,” Koeman said after the game, as quoted by Marca.
The Barcelona head coach continued:
“That’s been the key. It’s a risky system, but without the ball, we pressed and tried to play one-on-one. Our game off the ball was key. It was a complete game. It’s been a good change that we’ve seen in 2021, although we lost points at the beginning. Today we’ve show that we’re still very much alive, and that’s very important. I’m proud, especially regarding the physical aspect. They have a physically very strong team, and we were able to match them off the ball, and with the ball we were very good, very calm.”
Barcelona have looked really good in the last few weeks, and their latest win is a morale-booster ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Sevilla in midweek.
Barcelona are back in the La Liga title race
The unpredictability of football is one of the things that makes the game interesting. A few weeks ago, Barcelona were struggling to even finish in the top four.
Now, though, the Blaugrana appear to be back in the title race. Saturday’s win against Sevilla has taken them to second in the league table, just two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.
What a turnaround Barcelona have experienced after the turmoil that engulfed the club last summer! It is, however, fair to say that the inconsistency of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid has allowed the Blaugrana get back into the La Liga title race.
Nevertheless, Barcelona have been totally deserving of their position. They’ve lost just twice in their last 12 games in all competitions, and now they are deservedly back in contention for the 2020-21 La Liga title.