El Clasico: 3 reasons why Barcelona beat Real Madrid
Barcelona inflicted a humiliating 5-1 defeat on Real Madrid on Sunday evening to go top of the league table. The resounding victory at the Camp Nou means the Catalans have 21 points and are LaLiga leaders after 10 games while their arch-rivals are reeling in ninth place with 7 points separating them.
The hosts have scored 5 goals against Los Blancos thrice before in the league, the most recent of those coming against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side in 2010/11 (FT 5-0).
This is undoubtedly one of Barca’s biggest wins in the Clasico and it was fuelled by a Luiz Suarez hattrick sandwiched between goals from Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal.
The absence of Leo Messi – who is out for 3 weeks due to a broken arm – did not hinder the home side but the same could not be said of a Ronaldo-less Madrid. The Portuguese’s departure to Juventus has seen Real struggle for goals, they have scored 14 times in the league against Barca’s 28 from the same number of fixtures.
The hosts led 2-0 at the break and although Marcelo scored early in the second half to spark hopes of a potential revival, Barcelona piled more misery on Julen Lopetegui and co. by scoring three more goals to seal the fixture.
We list the three key factors that enabled the hosts’ rout of Real Madrid.
#3. A perfect first half
Barca had the initial momentum and retained possession effectively from the time the whistle sounded. Philippe Coutinho gave the hosts a dream start by scoring in the 11th minute.
Jordi Alba had raced along the left flank during the counterattack and cut the ball back to the Brazilian whose arrival in the box was timed to perfection. Coutinho flicked the ball into the net with his left foot to give them a crucial lead. Suarez then won a penalty off Raphael Varane and scored to double the lead on the half-hour mark.
Valverde’s side dominated possession, rotated the ball well and launched wave after wave of attack while also simultaneously stifling any threat from the opponents. Arthur, Busquets and Rakitic seldom ceded control in midfield and their full-backs were always a ready outlet to take the ball forward.
Real barely had a sniff of goal aside of one good chance in the second minute where Benzema was flagged offside (albeit incorrectly). Their backline was shaky with Varane especially poor, and he made way for Lucas Vasquez at the break.
That the hosts led only by two goals heading into half-time was not a testament to their opponents’ ability. Only a couple of fine saves by Thibaut Courtois and their profligacy with respect to finishing had denied the Blaugranas being out of sight by then.