At a packed Spotify Camp Nou, Barca began their journey to Istanbul with a cruising 5-1 victory against the Czech champions courtesy of a hattrick from talisman Robert Lewandoski and one a piece from Ferran Torres and Franck Kessie.
The Garnet and Blue were the superior side in a game that saw Xavi go for six rotations due to the stacked schedule in the upcoming 10 days. Barca News Network brings you 4 key talking points after the 5-1 victory against Viktoria Plzen.
1. Xavi’s team is on the Rise:
It seems Xavi has instilled his philosophy and style of play’s blueprint in his team and the results demonstrate it. The quick link-ups, ferocious counterattacks, and bold take-ons by players such as Ousmane are amazing to watch. The team seems to have a growing chemistry and the way, they boldly dominated Plezn, bullied them, and squeezed the life out of them seems to be a positive sign from Xavi’s team. Even though many will argue that it’s just Plezn but we can see the positives unlike in the first half of last season.
2. The defensive issues:
Xavi may be a mastermind. A genius when it comes to tactics but he got it wrong with his defense. It may have been a good game to play the squad rotation cards but Jordi Alba seemed to be a time bomb. He ducked away in a decision that led to Plezn’s first-half goal. He was totally dormant and that left side seemed so blunt in the first half with minimal attacking action from that mentioned side.
Kounde-Christensen pair offered no balance and their understanding is still something to be worked on. If we had faced a side sharp enough in front of the goal, they would have used this imbalance to their advantage.
3. Robert Lewandowski is insatiable:
The Blaugrana fans were fond of Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan always paid for this unconditional love with goals. In comes Lewandowski and he’s showing Cules what they have been actually missing since Suarez left.
Lewy is a born finisher, a killer who takes his chance at the word go. He showed it to Cules tonight, with a hattrick, awesome build-up play, and, his contributions without the ball. Lewandowski should have scored more but we can wish he saves them for Bayern.
4. Dembele is like a dagger on the wing:
Since penning his contract, Ousmane is actually fulfilling his statement, “The serious business is about to START.” Dembele was all over Plezn’s defense, dribbling and beating them with pace. He’s becoming an absolute monster and he will be key for Xavi’s system to unlock stubborn defenses and low blocks.
Xavi also praised the Frenchmen and even claimed that his performance reminded him of the prime Neymar at Camp Nou. The coach said, “I’ve always seen Dembele with great potential, today he was almost at the same level as Neymar’s best when he was here.”