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Oct 4, 2018


Lionel Messi was in Inspirational form in Barca's 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Wembley. He was involved in every one of Barca's Play throughout the night.



Once again Lionel Messi dominated Wembley, a Stadium which simply lifts his game. Lionel Messi's inspirational form catapulted Barcelona Football Club to a 4-2 victory against Tottenham Hotspur. With this victory we remain at top of the group and along with Inter looks like the favourites to go through the group.


Messi scored twice and produced the chances which resulted in the other two goals. It's quite strange that Messi won't be credited for the assist of any of these; this shows why Statistics are useless in capturing genius. Footballing fraternity needs to come up with better statistical way for capturing Messi's effect in a match.




Lionel Messi was the Difference Maker in the Match


In the preview to this match, I have mentioned clearly that if Barca have to win this, we need Lionel Messi in inspirational form. It was majorily because I expected Valverde to line-up with a 4-3-3 formation in this match. It is so easy to get carried away by the result but there were moments were our defense showed all the fragilities we saw in recent matches.


This season, we have seen Messi making Champions League as a priority target. That was in full display with his intensity. The kind of shift he is putting in wasn't seen in recent matches. He was everywhere, the number of times he came back to help the defense is mind blowing. Having said that this kind of approach is not going to work as he will be dead tired by end of season with this kind of work shift.


Valverde went with the usual setup, but there were change in personality in many positions. We had Coutinho moving to the Left side of attack, a role which is much suited to his skill set in my opinion. Arthur came in midfield and paired with Rakitic who had a terrible night barring the wonder goal. In Right Back position we had Semedo instead of Roberto. The rest were as expected.


Opposition Helps Barca to Settle Easily


Without any doubt, Barca's life was made simpler with the big mistake of Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris. The World Cup winning keepr made an absolute fool of himself when he thought he would be able to reach a Messi over the top ball to Alba, which split the defense. Once he was caught on the wrong foot, Alba did the most sensible thing by passing it to Coutinho.


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That early goal settled all the nerves we had especially coming with a series of 'not so great' results. Throughout the match the combination of Messi and Alba was wrecking havoc on the Tottenham back line. With Alves gone, it looks Messi have found the perfect partner in Alba and has shifted the major attack area to left. Presence of Coutinho also helps.


The second goal was from a wonder strike from Rakitic; but one should not ignore the great play Messi organised in the build up. Once again it was Messi-Alba duo which created the chance and Coutinho's strike was saved but Rakitic was brilliant with finish on the rebound. Rakitic till then was the worst Barca player on the pitch losing balls multiple time.


Valverde fails to read the Game After the Break


It was clear at the break that Tottenham will come out and aggressively press. But Valverde never bothered much to adapt the side to that. That kind of pressing against Barca has it's disadvantages and we saw that with two great chances from Messi, but both occasion he struck the post.


Mean while Harry Kane scored on the other hand, and suddenly everyone was wondering whether Messi will rue those missed chances. But then Messi always have a solution and he wasn't to be denied a third time. This time also it was similar chance created by a great dummy by Saurez and Messi made no mistake. Tottenham pulled one back through Erik Lamela, and that ensured a nervy end. But Messi was once again in hand to score his second and seal the match.


Despite the result, Valverde's inability to read changing match situation and react is becoming a worry. he is still using substitution as a time killing tactics. And also he needs to seriously think about the work load he is putting on Messi. he is currently donning the role of Xavi and Iniesta and then his own. He may not be able to continue like this till the end of season. He needs help and only the coach can give him that.

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