UEFA Champions League 2016-17: Barcelona 4-0 Borussia Monchengladbach - 5 Talking Points
With Barcelona already through to the next round as leaders of the group and Borussia Monchengladbach assured of a spot in the Europa League by finishing third, either team didn’t have much to play for in their final fixture of Group C of the Champions League. It was especially apparent in the case of the Catalan club as Luis Enrique decided to bench Luis Suarez in the absence of first team regulars Gerard Pique, Neymar and Jordi Alba.
Monchengladbach had a total of four changes from their match against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga over the weekend where they lost 4-1. With both teams performing poorly by their standards in the domestic league, a win was essential if only to prove a point.
However, the visiting German side made the mistake of allowing Barcelona the room to dominate possession and tempo which proved to be their downfall. Lionel Messi scored in the first half from a move he initiated and Arda Turan wrapped the game up for the team with a hat-trick in the second half:
Here are the five major talking points from the fixture:
#1 The combination play of Aleix Vidal and Denis Suarez
Aleix Vidal was in fine form against Monchengladbach as he seemed keen to prove to Luis Enrique what a natural left-back can actually bring to the game. He defended with precision and confidence whenever he was called upon to do so but showed his real worth when going forward. With no pressure from the German side to speak of, Vidal had the freedom to surge forward along the flanks and push the ball up closer to the opposition’s box.
He combined brilliantly with Denis Suarez for large parts of the night in deftly passing the ball and creating havoc for an already frantic Borussia defence. Suarez was one of the players who benefitted from the numerous suspensions and injuries in the starting XI and started in an important game where Barcelona had to break their recent slump. Both their efforts bore concrete proof as each of them provided an assist for Turan in the second half.