The match may have been very one-sided, but it had a few lessons for those reading into what was happening in Spain. In this article we will take a look at six things we learned from Barcelona’s victory and what the result means for both clubs.
As always, feel free to get involved in the comment section below, and note that all statistics from the match are courtesy of WhoScored!
Real Sociedad entered the new season on a high. The Basque club had earned a place in the Champions League last season and was poised to be a major player in La Liga this year.
But everything hasn’t quite worked out the way it should have.
La Real have won only one match this year and are struggling to find their rhythm. Against Barcelona, the Basque club showed that their depth is a major issue and that they still aren’t quite at the level to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe.
The Champions League could have something to do with La Real’s start to the new campaign, but it is clear that they must get back on track if they are to reach the level of success they enjoyed last season.
Another rare outing for Marc Bartra and another masterful performance.
The young Catalan defender continues to show that he has the capability to play at a very high level and could be the answer to Barcelona’s defensive problems. He may have scored a wonderful goal on the night, but his performance was all about defending.
Bartra made two solid tackles against Real Sociedad and did not make a bad pass the entire night. To put it simply, Bartra did not make a single mistake at the Camp Nou.
If Barcelona wants to fix its defensive problems, it all has to start with Bartra. The 22-year-old is ready and has the talent. It is time he gets his chance to fight for a starting role.
At the beginning of the season, Neymar appeared to be a bit timid. He was careful not to overstep his bounds as he was learning the Barcelona style of play. But those days are quickly fading.
We are now over a month into the new season, and Neymar’s performance against La Real showed that he is now comfortable and ready to show what he is made of.
The Brazilian scored a wonderful goal and gave yet another assist, but it was the other things that showed he is ready to step his game up.
Neymar completed four dribbles and drew countless fouls. He even showed off some fancy footwork, which reminded fans of his matches for Brazil and Santos. To put it short, Neymar is close to finding his rhythm at Barcelona, and then he will really unleash his potential.
Over the last few years there has been no question regarding the role of Imanol Agirretxe at Real Sociedad. The 26-year-old has always been the first-choice striker and was a vital piece of La Real’s Champions League push last season.
But newcomer Haris Seferovic may have something to say about that.
Not only is Seferovic playing better individually, but the team seems to be responding much better when he is leading the attack. The 21-year-old links up well with Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela and could soon overtake Agirretxe in the starting lineup.
For La Real this is a good issue to have. But for Agirretxe, it could be a very bad thing as he is still trying to get back into the routine of playing after suffering a muscle injury in August, as reported by Football-Espana.
To say that Barcelona was over-reliant on Lionel Messi last season is an understatement. The Argentine practically carried the club in countless matches and had many worried that the team could not function without him.
But what the Catalan outfit has showed this season, and against Real Sociedad, is that the game is not all about Messi anymore.
The changes that have been made by Tata Martino have forced Barcelona to work even more as a unit where each player is just as dangerous as the next.
Players like Neymar, Alexis Sanchez and Andres Iniesta are commanding just as much attention as Messi, which has paid off in goals galore for the Catalan club. But this is only the beginning.
Messi is continuing to play like his unbelievable self, but he now has help. Everyone else has stepped up their game and is contributing just as much, which has seemingly already ended the dependence on Messi.
If this continues for Barcelona, it could be a very successful season. Barcelona has scored eight goals in its last two games. Messi has only found the back of the net once in those games, but he has never looked more dangerous.
New manager Tata Martino has already tweaked the Barcelona way of playing and has brought about outstanding results. But what the Argentine coach did against Real Sociedad was even more shocking.
Martino subbed Messi out late in the second half with the match already decided for the second time this season. Messi is rarely subbed off no matter what the score is, but Martino has a clear idea of what he wants to do with the Barcelona ace.
What Martino is doing is making sure that he gets the best out of every player and protects stars such as Messi when the game has already been decided.
It is no secret that Messi wants to play every second, but Martino is clearly showing that he makes the decisions for the squad. It is a gutsy move, but it is something that should have been done a long time ago.
Tata Martino knows exactly what he wants to do, and he does it.
What did you learn from Barcelona's win? Is Martino right to keep resting Messi at the end of matches? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on all things Spanish football!