Barcelona remain within touching distance of Atletico Madrid in the La Liga race. The Catalan giants were out of the title race a few months ago, but they’ve been in incredible form since the beginning of the new year.
For a side that made a terrible start to the season, it’s amazing to see them occupying second place in La Liga right now, above arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Barcelona recorded a statement win against Real Sociedad on Sunday. Ronald Koeman’s men thumped La Real 6-1 at the daunting Reale Seguros Stadium to further boost their chances of usurping Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.
It was a comprehensive performance from Barcelona, with Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Sergino Dest and Lionel Messi getting on the scoresheet.
Lionel Messi back to his best
After the chaos of the previous summer, many fans thought that they had seen the last of Messi's brilliance at Barcelona. However, the last few months have shown that the Argentine still has a big role to play at Camp Nou.
The 33-year-old has been very good in recent weeks, but he was back to his absolute best against Real Sociedad on Sunday. He was involved in almost every attacking move that his side initiated.
When Messi gets in his stride, he’s usually unstoppable. Aside from his two goals on the day, he also set up Dest’s goal when the scoreline was at 1-0. The Barcelona captain has now scored 23 goals in La Liga, making him the league’s top scorer.
Barcelona have endured an underwhelming season, but they can still end the campaign with two trophies. They are in contention for La Liga and also have qualified for the Copa del Rey final. How they’ll fare in these competitions, though, largely depends on Messi’s form.
Barcelona mean business in La Liga chase
In recent weeks, Barcelona have proven that they are ready to put up a fight in the title race.
The top three sides in La Liga won their respective games over the weekend, but Barcelona’s heavy win against fifth-placed Real Sociedad was a statement to their rivals.
Koeman said after the game (as quoted by Marca):
"Every game is difficult. For us and for [Atletico]. Real Madrid are there too. It's going to be exciting until the end of the season.”
"I now hope all the players can return from the break without problems. They have given me a great birthday present, while it has also been a great birthday for Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann."
Barcelona’s recovery has been aided by the inconsistency of their rivals, but there is now a genuine chance that the Catalans could win the league.