Tuesday’s Spanish La Liga match between leaders Barcelona and Villareal ended in the most dramatic fashion. The last kick of the game found the back of the net, helping the Blaugrana salvage a point. Much to the dismay of the Villarreal fans. The exciting 8-goal thriller saw Barca initially take a two goal lead before falling behind 4-2 by the 80th minute. However, Barca incredibly found a way to go on level terms in the last 3 minutes of the match. While we were thoroughly entertained by the game, we also learned 5 important lessons. Take a look at the 5 lessons:
- Malcom Should Be Given More Opportunities
Before Messi stole all the headlines late in the game, Barca had another shining star in the person of Malcom. The Brazilian had a short but impressive game last time out – against Espanyol and was rewarded with a start in Tuesday night’s game. Malcom needed to invitation to make a statement for himself. He burst into the game from the get-go, giving an assist and then scoring one for Barca’s opening two goals. He also went on to create many chances albeit unfinished in the game for the Spanish champions. Malcom is no doubt showing the coach why he should get more starts.
- Without Pique, Barca’s Defense is Non-Existent
Barca’s coach, Ernesto Valverde rested center-back Gerard Pique for Tuesday night’s game and it showed badly. The Spaniard was sorely missed by his teammates as Barca’s defence were in shambles throughout the game, especially in the second half. The Spanish champions had keeper Ter Stegen to thank for keeping them within reach for an equalizer. Without Pique, Barca weakness at the back was exposed for all to see.
- Valverde Still Doesn’t Have a Plan B
Ernesto Valverde has tried to rotate his squad a few times this season. And yet he still hasn’t found the key. He decided to rest Pique, Rakitic and Messi for this match and it almost backfired in his face – as it has been in most of his other rotation trials. This just goes to show that Valverde still hasn’t worked out his best rotation squad.
- Messidependency Is Officially A Thing
The best player in world – arguably plies his trade for Barcelona. So it isn’t a surprise that the whole team looks up to him sometimes. However, with recent performances, Barcelona have had to look up to their talisman for everything. In their game against Leganes in January, the team looked bereft of ideas and unmotivated till Messi came on. That is how it has been for a while and that’s how it was on Tuesday night. Even Valverde admitted to depending on Messi in the after match media brief.
- Manchester United Should be Afraid
If there is one thing that can’t be ignored, then it’s that Barcelona can never be underestimated. The way they fought till the end to claim a point on Tuesday sent a strong message to their challengers for silverware. Elsewhere, Manchester United (who are facing Barcelona in the UCL Quarterfinals next week) were beaten away at Wolves on that same night. With the difference in play and result of the two teams, it is fair to say that Manchester United should be afraid. Be very afraid in fact.
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