Match Reviews

FC Barcelona 4-0 Real Sociedad: Match Review

After facing Madrid last week, it was another Real for Barça this time as they met Eusebio Sacristán’s Real Sociedad. Eusebio, a player who made over 200 appearances for Barcelona, was facing the Catalans for the first time as a manager having replaced David Moyes.

Barcelona Real Sociedad
Possession 56% 44%
Total Shots 11 10
Shots on Target 6 2
Corners 6 4
Fouls 11 14
Offsides 4 1
Yellow Cards 0 5
Red Cards 0 0

Immediately from kick off, La Real were looking to adopt a high press. Not allowing Barcelona to have time on the ball and looking to make it tricky for the home side to get their natural, passing game going. However, Barcelona were looking for the chip over the top frequently in the hope of getting a player in behind Sociedad’s high line. The first to do this was Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan raced away but the pass was a little too long and Gerónimo Rulli managed to collect it.

Barça were probing but so were Real Sociedad and both sides were looking through a long ball as a route to get at the other team. After scoring last weekend, Andrés Iniesta again came close in the 13th minute. A dink from Suárez found the midfielder in the box but he could only direct his header onto the foot of the post.

Filling in for Jordi Alba, Jeremy Mathieu was regularly looking to get on the overlap down the left flank but it was on the opposite side that the opening goal came. Lionel Messi found a charging Dani Alves and the Brazilian drilled in a low cross to his compatriot, Neymar. Neymar made a run inside the box, beat the defender to the ball and finished past the keeper at the near post.

Real Sociedad were adopting a more physical approach in order to stop Barcelona breaking through again but Barça’s quick passing was making it tough for the opponent to get near them. It wasn’t long after Neymar’s goal that Barcelona doubled their lead. After registering his first assist of the season, Dani Alves got his second. This time he floated the ball towards the back post and it was met by the foot of Suárez. On the volley, Suárez scissor-kicked the ball and it flew past Rulli to make it 2-0 to the home side.

Having won the last 14 of this fixture, Barcelona were looking comfortable and the half time whistle came with the side enjoying a two goal cushion.

However, not content on just a two gaol lead, Barcelona burst out of the traps for the second half. Eight minutes after the restart, Barcelona got their third. Messi, again, started the move having slid the ball into the path of Mathieu. The defender narrowly beat the offside trap before laying the ball on a plate for Neymar. The forward got his second and the fans were enjoying what they were seeing.

Having set up many attacks, Messi was now looking to be on the end of one. Neymar sprinted down the left wing to meet an Iniesta pass and he cut the ball back towards Messi on the edge of the box. The Argentine volleyed towards goal but it whisked just past the post.

With his job done, Dani Alves was substituted just before the hour mark. Two accurate cross had led to two gaols and Alves’ departure was met with a standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd. With one full back having been substituted, it was just six minutes later that the other one was. Having also registered an assist, Mathieu put in a good performance before being replaced by Jordi Alba in the 66th minute.

The Barça attacks just kept coming and it was looking like it wasn’t going to end 3-0. Hunting his first league goal in two months, Messi lined up a free kick on the edge of the area. It curled up and around the wall but didn’t dip down in time to test the keeper. Immediately after the free kick, Luis Enrique made his third and final change as Javier Mascherano made way for Marc Bartra.

Going into the final stages of the match, the game seemed to open up more and it allowed Real Sociedad more chances. These chances were more half chances than anything and every time they missed one, Barça looked to counter. The pace of Neymar was a constant threat as Messi looked to pick out his strike partner routinely.

However, Claudio Bravo was required late in the game. Bruma worked his way into the box and attempted to look for the far corner only to be denied by the keeper. At the other end, Messi tried the same, only to see his effort rattle off the bar.

As we entered injury time, Messi finally got his goal. Neymar tricked his way down the wing before playing a quick one-two with Suárez. He squared the ball into the path of Messi for the tap-in. The game ended 4-0 and it was a routine win for Barça thanks to the brilliance of the front three.

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