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Three talking points from Barcelona 4-2 Valencia

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Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona climbed back to second place on the La Liga standings late on Monday night after a roller-coaster, yet comical win, over Valencia.

The game was a treat to the eyes of those purely seeking entertainment as it produced moments of embarrassment through the first half to no end. It stabilised in the second period, and ultimately Barcelona walked away with a 4-2 win.

The result is kind on Xavi’s side who neither deserved the win nor the scoreline on the night given their performance. A Robert Lewandowski hat-trick coupled with good contributions from Ilkay Gundogan, Lamine Yamal and Fermin Lopez helped seal the result.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona 4-2 Valencia.

A tale of blunders

Barcelona’s improved performances in recent months, directly or indirectly, has a correlation with Xavi announcing his departure from the club. The renewed feeling of responsibility or guilt, after all, caused players to step up.

Now out of that zone, after the manager announced his continuity, there was an element of fear ahead of last night’s clash. After all, that factor coupled with the lack of any real chance to win silverware could cause Barcelona to drop their guard.

As expected, the Blaugranas were far from their best last night. While they did not dominate the game as expected, blatant individual errors headlined the contest.

Fermin Lopez gave the team an early lead at Montjuic through a well-worked header. However, it only took Valencia five minutes and a horrendous Marc-Andre ter Stegen error to equalise.

With Valencia pouncing on the counter-attack, the German shot-stopper opted to charge out of his area and lob the ball back into midfield.

Terrible footwork, however, saw the ball go straight up into the air and into the feet of Hugo Duro who then had an empty goal to slot the ball into. Comical, yet embarrassing.

Less than ten minutes later, a second unforgivable blunder arose from the feet of a Barcelona star, this time Ronald Araujo.

Just a week after a season-altering hasty red card against PSG, the Uruguayan lunged into yet another questionable challenge on Peter Gonzalez to bring the winger crashing down. He was surprisingly not booked, but the resulting penalty gave Valencia the lead.

The pivotal moment

The key moment. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

With Valencia 2-1 up and Barcelona producing blunders all over the field, the game appeared to be an uphill battle for the Blaugranas.

Unbelievably, the blunders appeared to be contagious as they then spread to the Valencia camp. 27 minutes after Ter Stegen’s howler, Los Che goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili produced his own moment of embarrassment at the other end of the field.

Yarek Gasiorowski’s poorly times back-pass to the goalkeeper found Lamine Yamal in good space and the Barcelona winger hit on the break instantly. Mamardashvili charged out of his area and stopped the youngster’s attempt with his hand.

The deliberate handball outside his box earned the Georgian a red card and reduced the visitors to ten men, virtually changing the course of the game ahead. With 45 minutes with an extra man, Barcelona were once again in the driver’s seat.

The Catalans did indeed go on to win the game, but one wonders if the result would have been as straightforward had Valencia retained 11 men on the field. A lucky break for Xavi’s side.

Hat-trick hero

As Barcelona walked back onto the field after the half-time whistle, they stared a 2-1 deficit in the eye. They did boast numerical advantage, but the work was yet to be completed.

Four minutes into the restart, the team’s talisman in attack Robert Lewandowski helped level the scores with a well-worked set-piece routine. Ilkay Gundogan’s delivery from the corner found Lewy in good space and the Pole headed the ball past a helpless Jaume Domenech.

The following period saw Barcelona put to frustration after frustration as the Blaugranas struggled to create an opening in front of goal. The winner, eventually, came over 30 minutes after the equaliser.

In the 82nd minute, Lewandowski was once again alert on Gundogan’s corner to pounce on his chance.

This time, Ronald Araujo rose the highest and touched the ball which routed itself towards the Polish striker. Lewy made no mistake, following up the defender’s header with a second one and giving his side the lead.

With the result sealed and written on stone, Lewandowski completed his hat-trick in stunning fashion when he placed a direct free-kick beyond the reach of Domenech in the 93rd minute.

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