I am not here to review the 6-0 thrashing F.C. Barcelona served Leon F.C. Nor am I here to claim this preseason win by the Catalans guarantees silverware this season (as much as I wish to glorify their victory).
After watching Barcelona win the annual Joan Gamper Trophy, I wanted to point out five important aspects from the match.
Fluid Front Three
One of my favorite aspects of the match had to do with Neymar, Messi, and Rafinha. They understood each others movements without having to speak. Messi continue to drop from the false 9 positions– at times dropping far to midfield. Neymar exploited the space behind Messi; he constantly moved from the left-wing to between the opposing center-backs. He beat the defense twice to score two cheeky goals.
But what caught my eye the most was Messi and Rafinha swapping positions throughout the first half. Messi positioned himself as a right-winger, while Rafinha moved as a false 9. I do not know if this will be a constant play by Enrique or a one time thing, but the thrill of seeing something new by the Blaugranas creates a great illusion. And here I thought tiki-taka was another word for boredom. Until the ban on Suarez ends, this might be the primary front three (unless Pedro forces his way in).
Suarez out of Form
At the start of the second half, I stared anxiously at the screen, waiting on Luis Suarez to make his debut. But minutes passed on by; commentators and I waited and waited. Finally, at the 75th minute, Suarez goes in for Rafinha. Applause from the roaring fans at the Camp Nou rain down on the Uruguayan.
However, the excitement quickly pacifies when we see Suarez trotting left and right. The ban has taken a toll on Suarez’s fitness. We understood why Lucho gave Suarez only 15 minutes on the field. His bad fitness is most noticeable on a counter towards the end of the match. While Munir sprints out left with the ball, Suarez jogs forward without intentions of ever catching up to the play. Now that’s something we do not want to see from an expensive striker.
Fortunately for Barcelona, the ban has been modified, and the Uruguayan striker will be able to practice along with his teammates. Even if he will not be in game form, at least Suarez can build fitness and chemistry with the Blaugrana players. The next time we get to see Suarez in the number 9 shirt will on October. Hopefully his La Liga debut delivers more excitement.
Click on No. 2 below to see the next three key points.