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Three talking points from Barcelona 4-0 Real Betis



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona put four goals past a helpless Real Betis on Saturday night as they took one more step toward the elusive celebratory night impending. The Verdiblancos played most of the game with ten men, and a chunk of it with just nine. Thus, the result does not come as a surprise.

Andreas Christensen opened the scoring on the night courtesy of a Raphinha assist before Jules Kounde and Robert Lewandowski combined for the second. Raphinha’s third goal sealed the result while Ansu Fati’s induced own goal made it four.

The Catalans were the better and more convincing side by far against Manuel Pellegrini’s side. They created as many as six big chances and hit the woodwork once in a game that should have ended with a larger margin.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona vs Real Betis.

1. Partners-in-crime reunited

Pedri’s injury and his resultant layoff from on-field action for months was the last thing Barcelona wished for earlier this season. However, the unfortunate setback did arrive for the prodigy and he was sidelined for over two months.

The effects of his absence did not take long to set in. All of a sudden, the Blaugranas were crying out for creativity, and the combination play in the middle of the park began to become pale.

However, one player who suffered the most without Pedri was Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish international enjoyed a stellar first half of the season at Barcelona after his move from Bayern Munich. Any shot off his boot appeared to head into the back of the net, and he boasted a strong lead atop the league scorers chart.

His form steeply fell off after the World Cup, and he looked completely lost after Pedri was sidelined. After all, it was the Canary Islander with whom he shared the best bandwidth.

The 20-year-old’s vision and understanding of spaces are unparalleled. His defence-splitting passes and one-touch combination plays with Lewandowski served as the two pillars by which the Catalans broke their opponents’ defences.

With Pedri looking in much better touch against Real Betis, Robert Lewandowski once again appeared to be close to his imperial best. The striker, who spent months silent in front of the goal, threatened to score once every five minutes.

Truth be told, Lewandowski should have had a hat trick on the night. Saturday’s game, if anything, showed that Barcelona, with a fully fit squad, are capable of wreaking havoc.

2. A night of no rights for Real Betis

On some nights, it is just not meant to be. Los Verdiblancos suffered one such painful and forgettable night at Spotify Camp Nou on Saturday that will haunt them for a long time.

Heading into the clash, Real Betis were firmly in sixth place in La Liga with the chance to overtake Villarreal. Their run of form was far from promising, but Manuel Pellegrini recovered two key stars for the clash against Barcelona.

At the Camp Nou, everything pitiably unraveled.

It all began in the 12th minute when the visitors’ defender Luis Felipe was unable to continue. Manuel Pellegrini called Edgar Gonzalez off the bench, and as history has it, it was one of the defenders’ worst nights.

Firstly, Betis conceded the opening goal a minute after Edgar was brought on. 12 minutes later, then, he was booked for a harsh foul on Raphinha. Eventually, he was given his marching orders as he pounced and brought down Pedri.

Down to ten men, Real Betis focussed their attention on the defensive aspect of the game. Against a full-strength Barcelona, however, it was a tall ask.

Real Betis had a special moment at the stadium when Joaquin came on for his final appearance at Camp Nou to a standing ovation. The veteran’s joy was short-lived, as he suffered an injury and was forced back to the bench in the 80th minute.

Having exhausted all his substitutions, Pellegrini could only watch as his nine men were mauled by an inspired and replenished Barcelona team. Things go wrong on some days, but Real Betis’ luck on Saturday was beyond rotten.

3. The season of welcoming

Last night was a night of returns, welcomes, and debuts at the Camp Nou. The atmosphere could not have been better at the Catalan fortress as the side took a giant step towards sealing the league title.

For beginners, it was Pedri’s first start at home after over two months. He did appear in the clash against Atletico Madrid last week, but his involvement was a mere cameo off the bench.

Andreas Christensen was another who returned from injury on the night. The Danish international was given the green light to start on his return, and his performance made one doubt if he had been on the sidelines at all.

In 90 minutes, Christensen completed 98% of his passes, made a crucial clearance and had one accurate long ball. The peak of his night, however, was his powerful header into the net to score Barcelona’s opener.

Later in the game, Ousmane Dembele made his return to the grasses after a prolonged period out. While he was rusty, it was a pleasure to watch the dynamic Frenchman back in action.

The most headlining development at Camp Nou however, was the debut of Lamine Yamal. The youngster, at just 15 years of age, trotted onto the grass in front of a full stadium and thus became the youngest debutant in the club’s history.

In his short cameo, Yamal almost scored and even came very close to assisting Ousmane Dembele. It might not have been long, but it was a night to remember for the youngster and the fans who place so much faith in his potential.

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