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Ranking Barcelona's Top 10 Performances This Season

Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2014

Ranking Barcelona's Top 10 Performances This Season

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    It has been a roller coaster of a season for FC Barcelona. La Blaugrana led the table throughout the first half of the campaign, but they have since begun to drop valuable points in 2014.

    Despite their current place in the table, the Catalans have had some really big performances this year. From winning El Clasico to fending off their city rivals, there have been plenty of memorable moments.

    In this article, we will take a look at the top 10 Barcelona performances so far. It is sure to be interesting so be sure to get involved below.

     

    All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com.

10. Barcelona 4-1 Real Valladolid

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    The first match to make our list comes from back in October when Barcelona defeated Real Valladolid, 4-1. 

    The match did not begin the way that Barcelona would have hoped. Javi Guerra opened up the scoring for Valladolid after only 10 minutes, and the Catalans had to play catch up.

    It didn't take long to respond as Alexis Sanchez equalized four minutes later, and the two sides entered the break level at 1-1.

    The second half was a completely different story.

    Xavi gave Barcelona the lead in the 52nd minute before Sanchez scored his second. Neymar added a fourth goal toward the end of the game that certainly sealed the deal.

    For La Blaugrana, it was an important win that showed they would not be phased by conceding early. Sanchez dominated the pitch with a brace and an assist, proving once again that the Chilean is finally at home at Barcelona.

9. Barcelona 4-0 Ajax

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Barcelona began this season's Champions League with a big 4-0 win at the Camp Nou over Ajax. The match took place back in September and proved to be vital for the club's group stage finish.

    From the first whistle, things were fairly even. Barcelona attacked well while Ajax refused to sit back and defend. The Catalans would have to force their way through the Dutch defense, and that is exactly what they did.

    After 20 minutes of play, it would be none other than Lionel Messi who opened up the scoring with a wonderful goal.

    The match was still tense entering halftime with the score stalled at 1-0. But Barcelona would have their way in the second half.

    Messi doubled the lead for La Blaugrana close to the hour mark followed by a surprising goal from Gerard Pique not too long later. Messi would then complete his hat-trick in the 75th minute to give Barcelona the emphatic 4-0 win.

    Though Barcelona won big, the match never looked easy. Ajax put up a fight, but the result showed the pure class of the Catalan giants.

8. Barcelona 7-0 Levante

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    What a start it was to the season. In Barcelona's very first match of the current campaign, they thrashed visitors Levante 7-0 while Neymar also made his official debut for the club.

    Sanchez gave Barcelona the early lead just three minutes into the game, followed by goals from Messi, Dani Alves and Pedro. At the 26-minute mark, the Catalans were leading 4-0.

    Just before the break, Barcelona were awarded a penalty, and Messi stepped up to complete his brace. Xavi then added a sixth before the whistle.

    Understandably, Barcelona took their foot off the gas in the second half, but they never allowed the game to get out of their control. Pedro was able to complete a brace for himself in the 73rd minute, but the real story was Neymar.

    The Brazilian came on around the hour mark and made an immediate impact. His pace and control of the ball at his feet dazzled the Camp Nou faithful, and he was immediately adored.

    For the first match of the season, Barcelona did not have any rust to shake off. They came out of the gates firing and sent a message to the rest of the league.

7. Barcelona 3-1 AC Milan

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    In early November, Barcelona faced off with AC Milan at the Camp Nou in a huge Champions League meeting. The match was tight throughout, but the Catalans were victorious, 3-1.

    Both teams were going at it in the beginning with Barcelona enjoying possession while the Italians looked to hit on the break. Neither side looked able to break the deadlock, but Barcelona's class would shine through.

    After 30 minutes of action, Messi would answer the call. Barcelona received a penalty, and the Argentine stepped up and calmly put his effort past Christian Abbiati.

    Just under 10 minutes later, Sergio Busquets would turn up with a rare goal to double the lead for the Catalans.

    There was a bit of disappointment a few minutes later as Pique scored an own goal to bring Milan back into the game, but it wouldn't help the Italians, who were unable to create enough chances.

    Just to ensure that victory was theirs, Messi added a third for Barcelona a few minutes from the final whistle. The Catalans put together a great performance against a tough opponent, and the fans were clearly behind their team.

6. Barcelona 2-1 Villarreal

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Neymar's coming-alive party took place in mid-December when Barcelona defeated Villarreal, 2-1. The Catalans were facing one of the strongest sides in Spain and saw off the challenge without Messi, who was injured at the time.

    After 30 minutes, the referee pointed to the spot, and Neymar walked up to the line. The Brazilian struck true from the penalty spot, giving Barcelona the 1-0 lead.

    Villarreal continued to fight back, refusing to go down without a fight. The Yellow Submarine were in a tight battle for a Champions League berth and made things very hard for their hosts.

    Just after the break, Villarreal would level the score. Mateo Musacchio scored the equalizer for the boys in yellow, and Barcelona would be forced to restore their lead.

    After 20 minutes of very tight action, it would again be Neymar who was the difference maker. The young winger scored his second of the night as the Catalans went on to win 2-1 in thrilling fashion.

5. Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The Catalan derby is always a big deal. Every time Barcelona and Espanyol meet there are sure to be tense moments and thrilling play. That was exactly the case back in November.

    Espanyol came into the Camp Nou fighting for a better place in the table and looking to topple their city rivals. Both sides were even throughout the entire game, and it looked as though there wouldn't be a winner.

    However, Barcelona made their presence felt and rallied late to take all three points.

    After nearly 70 minutes of back-and-forth action, Sanchez would be the hero. The Chilean put his effort past Kiko Casilla, and La Blaugrana ended up 1-0 winners.

    Many may say that it wasn't a spectacular performance from Barcelona because it was such a close affair. But a derby is always going to be tough, and La Blaugrana proved to be too much for their rivals in the end as the fans had a lot to cheer about.

4. Barcelona 6-1 Celtic

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    In Barcelona's last match of the Champions League group stage, they made a big statement. Celtic would walk into the Camp Nou looking to upset their hosts, but they would leave after being utterly dominated.

    Just seven minutes into the game, Pique opened the scoring for Barcelona. The match began to get a little more even from that point, but Pedro would kill off any energy that Celtic had building when he doubled the lead at the 39-minute mark.

    That wouldn't be all from Barcelona in the first half though, as Neymar added a third just minutes from the halftime whistle.

    Being up 3-0 at halftime, it was clear that Barcelona were going to cruise to victory; the only question was just how many goals would they be able to score.

    La Blaugrana came out in the second half with guns blazing. Neymar completed a hat-trick by scoring two goals before the hour mark. Cristian Tello added a sixth for the Catalans, and it was game over.

    Georgios Samaras was able to pull one back for Celtic on the eve of final time, but it was clear that Barcelona had imposed their will at the Camp Nou.

3. Barcelona 4-1 Real Sociedad

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    In late September, Barcelona hosted Real Sociedad in what promised to be one of the most entertaining games of the early season. The Catalans would not disappoint.

    It only took five minutes for Barcelona to open the scoring. Neymar's effort rippled the back of the net for his first-ever Barcelona goal, and what a way it was to start his career with the club.

    Only three minutes later, the lead would be doubled when Messi found the back of the net as well. For the Camp Nou fans, it was clear that this partnership was going to be a thing of beauty.

    Busquets turned up with a goal of his own after roughly 20 minutes of play, and the matched looked decided with still over an hour to play.

    After the hour mark, Alberto De la Bella pulled one back for the Basque side in a feeble attempt to mount a comeback. Not too long afterward, Marc Bartra added Barcelona's fourth and final goal of the contest.

    It was a beauty display of football from the Catalans and one of the most complete matches of the season.

2. Barcelona 6-0 Rayo Vallecano

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Putting six goals past an opponent is always a big deal. Though that is exactly what Barcelona did to Rayo Vallecano last month, it was the way they played that made everyone stop and stare.

    Barcelona had recently drawn with Real Sociedad and lost to Valencia entering their match against Rayo Vallecano. There was a lot of negative talk about the Catalans before kickoff, and Barcelona would strike back in a phenomenal way.

    After merely two minutes, Adriano fired one of his spectacular shots at goal to give Barcelona an early lead. Rayo began to fight back and defend well, but it always looked like La Blaugrana would score more goals.

    In the 36th minute, Messi would break through the back line to double the lead for the home side. With Barca up 2-0 at the break, fans began to wonder what it would take to start finishing off all of the chances being created.

    That would no longer be an issue in the second half.

    Before the hour mark, Sanchez and Pedro both popped up with goals to bring Barcelona's lead to 4-0. Both goals were nicely finished, and Barcelona were rolling at this point.

    Messi then scored his second of the game close to the 70-minute mark before Neymar added one of his own in the dying minutes of the game.

    Despite all of the big wins this season, there was no other game quite like this one. Barcelona performed perfectly in every area imaginable in what was a beautiful team win.

1. Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    El Clasico is the great equalizer. It is the match everyone looks forward to and the encounter that promises the most thrilling and entertaining football of the year.

    In a game of this magnitude, it is no wonder that Barcelona's 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in October receives the honor of being the best Blaugrana performance of the season thus far.

    Both sides were going at it in the beginning of the match. Back-and-forth action riddled the Camp Nou pitch as fans were constantly on their feet and biting their nails.

    The deadlock would be broken after 19 minutes of play when Neymar scored one of his most spectacular goals of the season. He was immediately lavished with praise from the fans and had cemented his place in El Clasico history.

    Real Madrid tried to storm back and put the pressure on the Catalans. After over an hour of action, it was still a close affair, until Sanchez brought the crowd to its feet.

    In the 78th minute, the Chilean unimaginably chipped the keeper to double the lead for Barcelona as Real Madrid stood dumbfounded at what had just taken place.

    With the game already over, Jese pulled one goal back in the last seconds of the match. Barcelona had not only won the El Clasico meeting, but they had put on their best and most important performance of the season to date.

     

    Which performance would you say is Barcelona's best of the season? Will the Catalans be hoisting silverware at the end of the year? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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