Barcelona 6-0 Rayo Vallecano: 6 Things We Learned
There were goals all around as Barcelona demolished visitors Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou by the score of 6-0 on Saturday night. La Blaugrana were in incredible form, and it showed as the team put on a dazzling display of football.
Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta formed a great pair in the middle of the pitch that kept Rayo on their toes all night long, while four different forwards found the back of the net for the Catalans.
This was certainly the type of result Barcelona needed with Manchester City just around the corner. The Catalans showed just how dominant they could be and that they are definitely ready for the Champions League to begin again.
With all of that being said, let’s take a look at six things we learned from the Camp Nou thriller.
*All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com.
Relegation Is a Certainty for Rayo Vallecano
Rayo Vallecano were never going to win this game. It would have taken more than just a miracle for them to get a result at the Camp Nou, and it will also likely take even more for them to escape relegation.
Rayo Vallecano have the worst defensive unit in Spain statistically. They have conceded 58 goals this season, more than any other team, and boast the worst goal difference in minus-33.
Clearly, Paco Jemez’s side is not going to be playing in the top division next season.
Los Vallecanos consistently prove to be unable to keep pace with the other clubs in Spain, and it shows. Their inability to defend has cost them dearly this season, and the lack of changes being made has likely already done them in.
Miracles can happen. The season is not over yet, and there is a chance that Rayo Vallecano can climb out of the bottom of the table, but that is highly unlikely. It may only be February, but fans need to be preparing themselves for the drop now.
Fabregas and Iniesta Work Wonders Together
It is hard to single out just one key performer for Barcelona because so many players were on display. But if we were to single out the best player on the night, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta would be in the discussion.
The midfield duo combined to give three assists against Rayo and did so much more that statistics just can't and won't reflect.
Iniesta was in ghost mode the entire night. He created space every time he touched the ball and linked up beautifully with the forwards, including a nice little backheel that led to a goal from Pedro.
At the same time, Fabregas dominated the midfield, creating chance after chance. His ability to read the game and find passing lanes was outstanding as was his keen eye for getting forward himself.
In the end, fans got to really see what the pairing of Fabregas and Iniesta can really do.
For so long it has been Xavi who has led the midfield for Barcelona, but I believe it is quite clear now that there is a new duo that should headline for the Catalans.
Fabregas and Iniesta are playing so well together at the moment that there really is no way around it. They should now be the favored midfield duo in Barcelona, and Tata Martino would be wise to keep them together against Manchester City.
Another Day, Another Record for Leo Messi
It seems like Lionel Messi breaks a record every time he steps foot on the pitch. The Argentine just keeps rewriting the history books with no signs of stopping, and that is exactly what he did again at the Camp Nou Saturday night.
Messi entered the match level with legendary Athletic Club Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra for the most career goals scored while playing for a single club in Spain with 335. When the final whistle had blown, Messi had passed Zarra.
The 26-year-old went on to score a brace against Rayo, meaning he has now moved ahead of Zarra, scoring 337 career goals with Barcelona. That is truly a feat to be marveled at.
In the grand scheme of things, this could be looked at as just another record for Messi. But when you take into account that he has now set this record at such a young age, it really puts it into perspective.
Messi is now closer to breaking even more records, thanks to his brace at the Camp Nou, and you have to wonder just how many more he will hold when he finally hangs up his boots.
Tiki-Taka Is Alive and Well
Barcelona’s style of play has changed a bit under Tata Martino, and so far it has worked. But underneath all of the changes, the Catalans will always stick to their roots, and that means Tiki-Taka.
La Blaugrana managed to score a few audacious shots against Rayo Vallecano, proving that they do have the talent to play outside the box. However, it was the team goals that fans recognized the most.
The link-up play between the midfielders and forwards led to several chances and even a few goals such as the one scored by Pedro. The players dazzled fans as they danced around the Rayo defenders, putting the ball through the smallest openings to get in on goal.
Messi, Fabregas and Iniesta taunted their opponents, keeping the ball close to their feet as they took on several defenders at once. And in the end, what fans saw was the dynamic return of the well-known Tiki-Taka.
Do not get me wrong, Barcelona have not stopped playing their Tiki-Taka style of football this season. However, they have added things to it and altered the way it is done.
Yet, against Rayo the Catalans returned to the pure Tiki-Taka that has won them so many trophies. Fans will be happy to know that Barcelona’s roots still bleed with the philosophy of Johan Cruyff and 11 players working as one.
Barcelona’s 6-0 victory was certainly something to behold, but it is the way they played throughout the entire match that will have people talking for the next few days.
Welcome Back, Neymar
When Barcelona announced in January that Neymar would be sidelined for the next month due to an ankle injury, there was a bit of worry. Messi had just returned from his own injury and now the club would have to wait out yet another hit to the squad.
In Neymar’s absence, players stepped up just as they did when Messi was out. Alexis Sanchez and Pedro scored goals, the midfield played well and Barcelona got the results they needed for the most part.
Even though the Catalans were able to do without Neymar for the past few weeks, everyone was waiting for the Brazilian’s return. That return came on Saturday night, and what a comeback it was.
Neymar was subbed on right at the hour mark and immediately made his presence felt.
The 22-year-old received a few promising passes, mainly from Messi and Dani Alves, but he failed to really get a shot off. But it was only a matter of time before he would strike.
Minutes before the final whistle, Neymar would get his goal. The Brazilian made a run from well outside the box, shrugged off a few attempted tackles and bent his effort into the top corner of the goal as the Camp Nou faithful rose to their feet.
It was a symbol that Neymar was ready to take back over and be the player whom Barcelona expect him to be. The Brazilian is back and ready to team up with Messi to really do some damage.
Bring on City
The huge victory over Rayo Vallecano was great, but the focus is on the upcoming Champions League meeting against Manchester City. If there is one thing we learned, it is that the Catalans are ready.
It was all hands on deck for Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Victor Valdes made a few key saves as the defense performed admirably, the midfield controlled everything that happened and the forwards found ways to score more than enough goals.
It is safe to say that Barcelona are in great form right now, and one could even say that they are a well-oiled machine after this weekend's performance.
It should be noted that a match against Rayo Vallecano is not a good indicator of how Barcelona will play against City. The English club are fighting for the EPL title and will be one of the toughest sides that Barcelona will face all season.
However, what the 6-0 victory does tell us is that Barcelona feel really good. The entire team is performing well as a unit, and the magic of La Blaugrana is definitely on display.
The Champions League returns in just a few days, and it is safe to say that FC Barcelona are ready for Manchester City. This one is going to be good.
What did you take away from Barcelona's big win? Will the Catalans be favorites against Manchester City? Leave your thoughts and comments below!