Julien Lopetegui endured the toughest week he possibly could have as manager of Sevilla facing Barcelona twice in the span of three days. Ronald Koeman’s men registered a 2-0 win in the league on the weekend, only to outdo themselves in picture-perfect fashion to secure a sensational comeback in the Copa del Rey.
Goals from Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique, and Martin Braithwaite etched a 3-0 win for Barcelona, but what were the other stats that dominated the game of play? Barça Universal takes a look at the same.
No better to kick off this statistic special other than El Presidente Gerard Pique. Taking charge of the defence alongside Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet, the Spaniard came up clutch to seal the game for Barcelona with the last play of the game. A sensational header into the bottom corner to reach his 49th goal for the club.
Gerard Piqué has scored 49 goals for Barcelona in all competitions, of which 20 have been headers. Yesterday, he scored his latest goal for the club in any competition (93:08). El Presidente.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 4, 2021
— Opta pic.twitter.com/QUcAGMfMM6
Pique certainly came up clutch in the attack for Barça, but he was an ever-present force in the defence as well. Despite Sevilla pressing extremely high early on, the 34-year-old was not dispossessed even once in two hours of play.
Gerard Piqué made 21 ball recoveries, and did not lose a single ball against Sevilla. pic.twitter.com/gdOrHCBd7g— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 3, 2021
It is a good time to mention Clement Lenglet as well, who seems to have redeemed himself with two show-stopper performances against Sevilla. The Frenchman came was a rock in both games in the week, and one of the best players for Barcelona.
Clement Lenglet did not commit a single foul against Sevilla, won all his aerial duels (8/8), and all of his ground duels (2/2). Redeemed.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 4, 2021
— Sofascore pic.twitter.com/1RTW8mLtqP
Lionel Messi may not have been on the scoresheet for Barcelona, but he did not stop giving his all at any time through the match. Additionally, he was very important for the team in extra time as he held up the game through his intricate dribbles and ball retention.
Leo Messi completed 11/11 dribbles against Sevilla tonight. ELEVEN. pic.twitter.com/NuO3TJ44Ln— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 3, 2021
Jordi Alba may be a defender on paper, but he has been an incredible presence for the team in the attack throughout his tenure. Yesterday, as well, Alba relentlessly put in crosses, continued to sprint forward. He assisted Martin Braithwaite for the winner yesterday with a tremendous cross that met the Dane’s dive.
Jordi Alba in extra-time for Barcelona:— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 3, 2021
2016 Copa final vs Sevilla: Goal
2021 Copa quarter-final vs Granada: Goal + Assist
2021 Copa semi-final vs Sevilla: Assist
— @Barca19stats pic.twitter.com/qkpociC9mO
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.