Barcelona vs Alaves: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
SCORE: (Messi 64', 92'; Coutinho 83') Barcelona 3-0 Alaves
Barcelona took their time to get going in their opening fixture of LaLiga 2018/19 as Alaves stood firm till the hour mark, but it was LaLiga's tormentor in chief who put the Catalans ahead with a subtly taken free-kick. Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant second before the Argentine doubled his tally to join Morales atop the Pichichi Standings.
Barcelona took their first step towards retaining the title they won so comprehensively last season, losing only their final fixture in 38 league games. Valverde will be pleased with the three points but will look to properly oil his highly-efficient Barcelona machine.
Here are the Talking Points from the game:
#5 Dembele's most crucial season
The Frenchman had caught the world's imagination with some stellar performances in Germany with Borussia Dortmund before Barcelona swooped in with an offer none of the parties could refuse.
However, he has failed to hit the same heights ever since with mumblings in the press that the club is constantly looking to offload the player and cut his losses.
The manager showed his faith in the youngster and sided with him, handing him a start ahead of the other contenders but he failed to repay him with a good performance on the field. He will need to buck up if he wants to fight his way back from irrelevance and become a fixture in the manager's plans.