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Three talking points from Barcelona 2-0 Cadiz

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Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s perfect form in La Liga continued on Sunday night as they took their unbeaten streak to eighteen games against Cadiz at Spotify Camp Nou.

The Catalans racked up two goals and a clean sheet against Sergio’s men, thus restoring an eight-point gap over Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid.

While the story sounds rosy, there was little to cheer about in the game apart from the first half. There was an element of fringe players stepping up and taking their chance in Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia.

However, the Catalans began falling apart towards the tail end of the game, a trend seemingly growing into their performance in recent games.

Goals from Sergi Roberto and Robert Lewandowski made the difference on the night as Barcelona prepare for a herculean task midweek. Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona vs Cadiz.

1. Where has this Ferran Torres been?

Barcelona did not shell out over €50 million for nothing when they signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City in 2021. The youngster has struggled for fitness in England but was known to be incredible on his day when fit.

Torres scored in his second appearance for the club, but his struggles in front of the goal began at that moment. Yet, Xavi Hernandez has always remained unperturbed by the forward’s struggles in finishing, stating that the management saw other invaluable qualities in his game.

On Sunday night, the world got to see exactly what the manager meant. The game against Cadiz saw perhaps the best form of Ferran Torres in a garnet-and-blue jersey as the winger lit up the right wing with his electric play.

In 90 minutes, Ferran created the most number of chances and even one big chance. He attempted a whopping 13 dribbles down the right flank, completing a staggering ten of them and repeatedly cranking open Cadiz’s defence.

He had one shot on target and deserves complete credit for Barcelona’s opener where he dribbled past three defenders and delivered a peach of a cross to set up the eventual finish.

Defensively, Torres worked incessantly. He won 15 of his 21 attempted ground duels in addition to three aerial ones, thus recording the most duels won on the field.

If the former Manchester City man can keep up his form with consistency, nothing can stop him from becoming a lethal weapon for Xavi this season. The only question is, can he do it down the left flank against Manchester United?

2. A special record with some luck

No team in the history of La Liga had kept 17 clean sheets after 22 games until Sunday night. With their 2-0 win over Cadiz, Xavi’s Barcelona broke that record and make history as the team with the most clean sheets at this stage of the season.

Yet, to obtain such a special record off the back of such a shambolic display seems undeserved. Barcelona were the better team by a distance in the first half, creating and taking their chances to great effect. The period that followed, however, was the polar opposite.

Xavi admitted in his post-match press conference that Cadiz deserved a goal on the night, and the second half of the game showed exactly why.

(Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Cadiz had the ball in the net through Roger on two occasions in the game, both ruled out by VAR for different reasons. The first goal involved a clear offside in the buildup, and the second was ruled out for a controversial foul by Fali on Ter Stegen in the box.

In addition, the visitors created a plethora of chances in the dying minutes of the game, forcing Barcelona’s German shot-stopper into key saves and even painfully hitting the post.

Yet, football is cruel and Barcelona saw the clean sheet add into their tally.

The current record for the most clean sheets in a La Liga season is held by Deportivo La Coruna who oversaw 26 in 1993-94. To rewrite history, Xavi’s men need just nine more in their next 16 games, a proposition that seems not too difficult to achieve.

3. Off to Manchester as underdogs

A 2-2 draw was all that Barcelona could salvage from Manchester United midweek at Spotify Camo Nou as they were mildly outplayed by Erik Ten Hag’s side in a special game.

There is everything to play for at Old Trafford this week, but it is difficult to escape the supposition that the English side are the favourites.

The home advantage is a massive factor in the second leg that could prove decisive. However, purely in terms of form at the moment, United appear well placed.

It is almost ludicrous that a team with 18 games undefeated is considered to be in poorer form. Yet, a look at the Red Devils’ unnerving 3-0 win over Leicester City last night just goes to show that everything is working for them.

Old Trafford will see the Catalans’ most difficult game of the season. Sans Pedri and Dembele, Xavi must look to tactically outclass a coach who outdid him less than a week ago. Ninety minutes of high-class football is all they need to pull off an upset.

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