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Dec 17, 2018


Sensational Performance from the Argentinian Maestro, Lionel Messi helped Barca to extract revenge for last season's heart-breaking defeat at Levante



Sensational Lionel Messi destroys Levante with an Out of the World Performance

Lionel Messi answered those idiots who rated him as the fifth best player in the World, like he has always done - ON THE FIELD. The Argentinian, who as per one Brazilian legend is a 'One Thing Guys, who scores only with his Left Foot', ended up scoring a hat-trick and assiting the other two goals in a glorious night for Barcelona. Courtesy of this victory, Barcelona has opened once again a three point lead at the top of the league.


The victory becomes extremely important as in the past two weeks, Messi has shown all the signs of hitting the top form soon. We need him to be in full form before we break for the winter, which will be following next week's matches. Had Saurez not scuffled an easier finish, Messi would have ended the night with three assists and three goals; not sure whether we have seen anyone in the history of the game doing that!





The Scoreline Was Harsh on Levante, but Showed Barca's Attacking Efficiencies


The scoreline of the match may seem extremely cruel for Levante but that doesn't take any credit away from our players. Levante did play well and had phases of the match they did better than Barcelona, but Barcelona was successful in negating most of those and turn the entire situation in a matter of minutes. The quality of our attacking line up was evident in this match, where our players made merry out of half chances they got whereas Levante couldn't!


For Barcelona, there was a bit of sweet revenge with this victory. Last season, we lost our unbeaten run here, at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia, where a Messi less Barcelona was defeated 5-4 by the home run. Nothing compensates for that disappointment but still, this feels a bit sweet.


The big difference between our team and their team is that they have Messi, the best player in the world. We try to score but they have him and he just killed us. Morales (Levante player)


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Valverde Experiments with 3-5-2 Formation for the First Time after Semedo Injury


In the build-up to the game, if someone said that Barcelona would be using a 3-5-2 formation, you would have called that person crazy. And that we did in the end, courtesy of a late injury to Semedo. The extent of the injury is still not known, but the initial reports suggest a problem with the left knee. It was heart-warming to see Valverde seeing it as an opportunity to experiment and line up with a 3-5-2.


The confusion with broadcasters was also clear when they put up the graphics showing a 3-4-3 formation placing Dembele on the left. But the moment the game started we understood the formation, we had three man defense of Lenglet, Pique, and Vermaelen. Then we had the five-man midfield of Vidal, Busquets, and Rakitic playing in center and Jordi Alba and Dembele as a wing back. Everyone was worried about Dembele, as this role needed him to put a huge defensive shift, and he did exactly that.


An Even Start to the Game


As expected the game started slowly for Barca, in contrast, the home side came out off the block with more intent. But Barcelona had answers to all Levante could put in. the initial phase saw both teams remaining compact, trying to take the fight to the opposition but rarely finding any space.


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The entire game changed in the 35th minute when Messi played a delightful pass between three defenders to Saurez, who finished the first time to put Barca ahead. The opportunity came from a small mistake, which honestly wasn't that big, barring one problem - it fell to Messi. That increases the problem, Messi collected the ball at the right edge of the box, made the diagonal run, but the defense very well held with him cutting his angles; but Messi being Messi decided to find Saurez between three onrushing defenders. If someone says such a goal is possible, you probably wouldn't believe!


From then on, it was a huge task for Levante, even though they never gave up. The task was made daunting in the 43rd minute when Messi put Barca 2-0 up from a delightful through ball from Busquets in the middle of the pitch. Levante didn't deserve to go 2-0 down at half-time, but then with players like Messi, even small mistakes will result in costly end results.


Barcelona Shuts Levante out of the Match Soon after the Break


Barcelona took their time settling into a new formation and was slowly getting hold of it. If First half was the foundation being laid, the second half saw the real power of this formation. Within minutes after the break, Lionel Messi scored his second and made the game safe for Barcelona. Once again that goal featured all the usual factors, a Jordi Alba cross, a Saurez dummy and a sublime Messi finish.


The next goal also came somewhat similar way, this time it was Saurez who sent in a delightful cross to Vidal on the right in the box, who had an angle to shoot but instead decided to find Messi with a special lay-off, who made no mistake for his hat-trick. Towards the end, Pique who would be named as the most obsessed individual with Manita, helped Barcelona complete the Manita with a rather special finish; especially considering that he is a defender.


Once again has been clinical with their finishing and game control. This game also showed the extent this team can improve with formations which work for the players. The 3-5-2, with Alba and Dembele as wingback had serious pace in it and should be used much more frequently. If we do that, Opponents simply cannot pre-plan anything against us!

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