Barcelona got their first away win in the league in over two months, as goals from Clement Lenglet, Martin Braithwaite and Lionel Messi gave the Blaugrana a 3-0 victory at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla against Real Valladolid in the 2020-21 La Liga.
After the Catalans could only fashion a 2-2 draw against struggling Valencia last week, Ronald Koeman responded by making three changes to the team. Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann, and Philippe Coutinho made way for Miralem Pjanic, Frenkie de Jong and Oscar Mingueza, with the latter dropping back to form a three-man defence.
Barcelona got the lead their opening play deserved when Clement Lenglet headed home a pin-point cross from his captain. The French defender gave a moving tribute to Moussa Wague, who recently suffered a career-threatening injury.
Martin Braithwaite doubled Barcelona's lead ten minutes before half-time before Lionel Messi put the icing on the cake 20 minutes into the second half.
The hosts came into this game buoyed by their last-gasp draw with Sevilla on Saturday. However, against Barcelona, they were blown away and failed to truly test the away goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen, who was equal to the task when called upon by Fabio Erellana.
With the victory, Barcelona climb up to fifth in the table ahead of the visit of Eibar after the brief Christmas break. On that note, here are five talking points from the fixture.
#5 Martin Braithwaite capitalises on a rare Barcelona start
There were several raised eyebrows when Barcelona made the bizarre decision to sign Martin Braithwaite as an emergency cover for Ousmane Dembele in February.
Not many expected the player to last beyond the summer. There is also speculation that he could be sold off once the winter transfer window opens.
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old is doing his talking on the field and appears to be a favourite of Koeman. Braithwaite was handed a start at the expense of Griezmann, and the player made the most of his opportunity by scoring Barcelona's second, underlining his natural instincts as a finisher.
He was also full of energy throughout the game and played a key role in keeping the hosts' defence on the back foot. With his display at Real Valladolid, Braithwaite has shown that he is not out of place in the Barcelona set-up.
#5 Antoine Griezmann running out of time to turn around his Barcelona career
With each passing week, Antoine Griezmann looks further off the player who was regarded as one of the best in the world while at Atletico Madrid.
The France international has struggled since completing his record-breaking move to Camp Nou in 2019 and has now failed to blossom under the tutelage of three different coaches.
With Koeman deciding to switch things up on the field, the 29-year-old was one of the players to make way. However, unlike Coutinho and Busquets, Griezmann was not summoned off the bench, which is indicative of his current standing in the manager's eyes.
Antoine Griezmann's talent is undeniable, and there is still time for him to turn things around at Barcelona. However, on current evidence, he is a long way off from the levels required.