Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Barcelona 5-1 Real Madrid: Three Things We Learned From El Clasico Demolition

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, La Liga 28 Oct 2018

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First of all, we have to admit this was an odd Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona. It was the first time in more than a decade that this game didn’t feature Lionel Messi (injured) and Cristiano Ronaldo (now playing with Juventus). As such, it felt a bit strange but that feeling quickly disappeared as soon as the ball started rolling. Barcelona and Real Madrid quickly showed why one of these teams is at the top of the standings, and why the other is thinking about making a managerial change only three months into the season.

Thanks to an impressive performance from Luis Suarez, who netted three goals, Barcelona obliterated Los Merengues to the tune of a huge 5-1 win where they looked absolutely dominant. Here are three things we learned from Sunday’s derby.

Barcelona have not missed Lionel Messi… yet

No, it’s not that Messi is replaceable. The Argentinian superstar is the best player in the world, but Barca have adjusted nicely to his absence. They already dismantled Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League a few days ago, but somehow they looked even better in this one against Real Madrid. The attacking line played at a superb level. Their proficiency was one of the main reasons why Los Blaugranas secured such a huge win.

We could easily start with Suarez, who netted three goals and was the Man of the Match. However, he wasn’t the only player who thrived here. Philippe Coutinho scored the team’s first goal, Ousmane Dembele delivered an assist off the bench, and the whole front line created all kinds of havoc to the opposing defence. It was clear the team is firing in all cylinders, and they had their best performance in arguably the biggest game of the year. You just couldn’t ask for more.

Julen Lopetegui’s time at Real Madrid needs to end right now

We could write 12,000 words to explain why Julen Lopetegui must leave Real Madrid. However, we would probably need more in order to fully explain why he must leave. The former Spain tactician once again showed he just doesn’t fit with Los Merengues. Simply put, he is not the manager the reigning European champions need right now. In fact, all signs point towards Florentino Perez sacking him sooner than later. And honestly – is there ANYTHING he can do or say to save this team?

After securing a harder-than-expected 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League a few days ago, this time Madrid looked brutally overmatched against Barcelona. Sure, some individual performances were not up to the standards required – for instance, Sergio Ramos was an absolute disaster at the back – but it is clear that Lopetegui can’t do anything else. He needed some kind of response in this game, and failed miserably.

Should Arturo Vidal have a bigger role in Los Blaugranas?

The popular saying goes by “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” and this could apply for Barcelona’s midfield. Arthur and Sergio Busquets have formed an excellent partnership, and there is no reason to remove the Brazilian from the starting XI any time soon. However, we could have a case to give Arturo Vidal a bigger role within the team. The Chilean has been very vocal regarding his secondary role within the team. But if he wants to gain more minutes going forward, then he needs to repeat what he did this week.

Vidal scored the fifth goal with a close-range header following a Dembele cross. He might not be as crisp on his passing as Arthur. He might not be as tactically sound as Sergio Busquets. And he might not even be as poised and accurate as Ivan Rakitic. But Vidal brings energy, intensity and a physicality that is unmatched in Barcelona’s current squad. The former Bayern Munich star might not look flashy, but he has shown he belongs here. And chose to do it in the world’s biggest derby, with the whole world watching him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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