Barca Bounces Back Ahead of Milan Clash: 3 Takeaways from Win
Dani Alves' shot at goal was nicely saved by Depor goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia in the early going. Cesc Fabregas' shot flew high in the 14th minute. Thiago Alcantara's great pass nearly found Cristian Tello for a goal, but Aranzubia made a great save.
David Villa had a wonderful chance in the 25th minute as he had a one-on-one against the keeper, but another great stop by Aranzubia keep it scoreless with two great saves.
In the 38th minute, Dani Alves made a fabulous cross into the box to Alexis Sanchez who finally beat Aranzubia with the header for the opening goal on the night. Terrific play by the Brazilian with the pass, and the Chilean with the goal.
Lionel Messi came into the game in the 62nd minute as he looked to extend his goal-scoring streak in La Liga. What looked like a Messi goal in the 74th minute was called offside.
Messi got his goal in the 88th minute as a great give and go from Leo to Alexis as Sanchez gave a nice assist to Messi who had an even better touch on the goal. Messi has now scored in 17 straight Liga games.
FINAL: FC Barcelona 2 - 0 Deportivo
Let's look at my three takeaways "From The Mind of Xoel" as FC Barcelona defeated Depor 2-0 ahead of Barça's clash with Milan on Tuesday.
Alexis Sanchez Earned a Starting Lineup Spot for the Milan Game
If you are a regular reader of my articles, you know that I am not the biggest fan of Alexis Sanchez.
And by "not the biggest fan," I mean I think he's a bust.
But Saturday's game shut me and all the other Alexis critics up.
During the game, I tweeted this:
Make me believe in you, Alexis Sanchez. Vamos!
— Xoel Cárdenas (@XoelCardenas) March 9, 2013
Just a few minutes later, Sanchez made me believe in him. But just for this game.
Thank you, Alexis Sanchez, for answering my tweet from a few minutes ago. For today, I believe in you. 1-0 Barcelona
— Xoel Cárdenas (@XoelCardenas) March 9, 2013
Gracias, Alexis, for somehow telepathically knowing what I tweeted, and shutting me up.
The Chilean had a fabulous game against Deportivo. His dribbling skills were there. So was his speed and impact to threaten to score.
And his give-and-go pass to Messi for Leo's goal? Beautiful.
It looked like Sanchez finally found his confidence. Maybe he went back to Italy midweek, and found his confidence.
But all kidding aside, I was happy for Alexis. He deserved it.
With this performance, I believe Tito Vilanova (via Jordi Roura) will have Sanchez start against AC Milan on Tuesday. Sanchez has the talent, and his speed is going to be needed in the game. And now that it appears Alexis has his confidence back, who knows what damage the Chilean is capable of doing to Milan.
Hopefully, Alexis Sanchez will do much damage to Milan on Tuesday.
Team Played Well Without Messi in the First Half
Messi did not start against Deportivo on Saturday so he could rest ahead of Tuesday's clash against AC Milan.
But for those minutes when Messi was not on the pitch, Barcelona actually played very well.
Great team play was seen as without Messi in the middle of the pitch, the wingers needed to step up to set up the goal-scoring opportunities.
Sanchez stepped up and played well, including scoring the opening goal. Tello was defended well by Deportivo but the kid still had a decent game. Villa should have scored in the first half, but his bad finishing may have cost him a starting XI spot for the Milan game.
Alex Song was everywhere on the pitch. Thiago had a solid game as well.
And the defense? Good.
Alves was making passes left and right. He was attacking and threatening for the entire game, including his cross into the box which led to Alexis' goal. We'll need Dani to replicate this against Milan on Tuesday.
Even though Barcelona did not have the same kind of play in the second half of the game, the team did show that they are capable of having other options than just Messi. I'm sure Leo will be smothered by the Milan defenders on Tuesday, and it's going to be vital that the wingers step up and become the goal-scoring threat needed.
Messi Continues Scoring
As I always do, let's look at Messi's numbers on the night.
Messi is the first player in history to score in 17 consecutive league games in a top division anywhere in the world (via @2010MisterChip)
Messi has been directly involved in 70 goals in 48 games for Barcelona and Argentina this season (56 goals and 14 assists). (via @messi10stats)
During Messi's record-breaking season of 82 goals (club & country), Leo had 53 goals at this stage last year. He now has 56. (via @champ_ian)
As of Saturday, Messi has just as many goals (40) in La Liga as Ronaldo (24), Gonzalo Higuain (nine), and Karim Benzema (seven) combined.
Messi (209) is one Liga goal away from equaling Pahiño with 210 and into seventh place all time in Liga goal-scoring history. (via @FCBarcelonaFl)
Messi is 11 goals away from breaking his own record of 50 goals in a Liga season, a record he set just last season.
Conclusion: Time for the Comeback
It's time for the comeback.
Barcelona will look to have a game for the ages against AC Milan this Tuesday at the Camp Nou.
As Xavi told the press (via Marca.com) a few weeks ago, "This generation has yet to make a historic comeback."
The time has come to make that comeback.
Solid win for FC Barcelona against Deportivo on Saturday.
Now, it's all about "The Comeback at the Camp Nou."
Here are a few tweets for some of the Barcelona players:
Victoria contra el Depor y 3 puntos más. Os esperamos en el Camp Nou el martes para el partido de champions con el M… say.ly/Eln5kHG— cristian tello (@ctello91) March 9, 2013
The match today is more than 3 points! We recover good feelings! Already 100% focused on Milan! #ForçaBarça— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) March 9, 2013
Tres puntos más y una jornada menos!! Ahora martes, martes y martes!— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) March 9, 2013
Vamos FC Barcelona!
O le le,
O la la,
ser del Barça és
el millor que hi ha
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona.
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