Barcelona’s display Sunday was something more than just a routine victory, as we have become accustomed to see week in, week out.
The incredible run of results this season from Vilanova’s team had not always been matched by the performances that are now expected of this set of players. Barcelona were winning games, but in many cases they lacked the fluidity and suffocating dominance that was their trademark for the last four years.
However, in recent weeks it would seem they were edging closer to this ideal, and Sunday, against a top team, they proved they are at their best again.
A few passages of play demonstrated that, with Malaga chasing shadows for several minutes without getting even a whisk of a touch on the ball. In the second half, a dozen passes in as many seconds, played between Messi, Xavi and Sergio Busquets in the middle of the field, were indicative of their dominance and fluidity.
This collective masterclass raised the confidence of individual players who left us with some technical beauties. From Andres Iniesta and Busquet’s roulettes, to Fabregas’ Romario-esque finish with the outside of his boot, a few passages of play will be worth repeating ad aeternam.
Most importantly, Barcelona are reaching this peak at just the right moment with a decisive run of fixtures in both cup and Europe just around the corner.