Laliga 2019/20: 3 things we learnt from Barcelona's win over Real Betis
Barca started the game by dominating the ball, but a disastrous pass from Sergio Busquets saw Nabil Fekir score his first goal for his new club. After a tense 25 minutes, Antoine Griezmann scored the equalizer that eased the Camp Nou crowd.
After the break, the Catalan side grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck and finished off Real Betis. La Masia graduate, Carles Perez got his debut goal. Griezmann curled in a fantastic strike for his second and substitute Arturo Vidal added further misery to the visitors by finishing off a slick move on his second touch of the match. Loren Moron scored a stunner from a miss-placed pass, but by then, the game was already over.
Here are three things we learnt from the game:
#1 Trust the Masia kids
There's nobody in the world that understands the Barcelona way than the La Masia kids. Studying and implementing the technique from a very young age, it's in their blood. Ernesto Valverde started Carles Perez, who impressed during the pre-season. He repaid the faith of the gaffer by scoring an incredible goal. Perez showed no signs of tension or fear and kept on going confidently even after losing the ball a couple of times. With the deft touch, he beat the defender and effortlessly passed the ball into the bottom corner.
16-year-old Ansu Fati made his first-team debut directly from the Barcelona B team. He was the first player under 17 years of age to make his debut for the Catalans since 1941. His 15-minute cameo filled the Camp Nou with joy, and even his teammates passed to him in encouragement. He almost scored from a half-chance with the ball going just wide of the far post.
#2 Antonie Griezmann oozes class
When the Spanish Champions signed Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, critics and fans questioned the move. Griezmann received a lot of flak from the Colchoneros over his controversial move, and most of the Cules were uncertain of his role in the team. He impressed in the pre-season with intelligent runs, passes and extraordinary link-ups. With Messi, Suarez and Dembele out with injuries, he was expected to step up against Betis and boy he did.
He led the Barca front line with grit and aggression, making exemplary runs and link-ups. He got to the end of a sublime cross from Sergi Roberto and finished through the legs of the keeper. His second goal was a moment of brilliance which he curled to the far post from the edge of the box. He was everywhere in the field, even putting in sliding tackles to get back possession.
He put in an exceptional man of the match performance on his debut at the Camp Nou and showed what he could bring to the table.
#3 Ernesto Valverde needs to fine-tune his tactics
Valverde played Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets together for the first time. Frenkie's positioning in the first half was mostly at the left half-space, and there was no connection between Busquets and de Jong. The midfield was non-existent, with only Sergi Roberto moving the ball upfield. The coach probably should have playerd de Jong on a more central role from the beginning where he could have played as a distributor been the link between defence and attack.
In the first 45, most of the Blaugrana attacks came from the left side. Jordi Alba made overlapping runs, and the cut-backs only found the opposition players. Although Alba's goal came from a similar attack, the style is getting predictable, and sides will come prepared to counter this.
The match vs Real Betis was a morale booster for the squad after the shocking defeat in the opening fixture. There are plenty of areas to work on, although the scoreline shows dominance. Valverde needs to address the issues before the critical part of the campaign begins.