Just saying! No Busquets, no goalsThe two points in the title are not directly related but both are on the mind tonight. That goalless draw against Rayo Vallecano also saw Sergio Busquets pick up a red card and so is out for this clash. Can you believe that is just his second red in 452 league appearances? The other thing about the lack of goals last week is that it threatens a worrying record being logged.
More fabulous play from both sets of players, at least in an attacking sense. First it's the hosts, bombing forward with plenty of purpose and almost fashioning a shot but just not getting the space to do so, given the numbers in the Barça area. From that, Pedri batters away down the left wing, at rather a surprising speed, I have to admit. He feeds Dembélé and Barça create a couple of half chances before being forced to recycle it back to the French forward who fires in a very tempting cross for Lewy. Defenders win.
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Peep! Real Sociedad, shooting from left to right as I look on, get the second half underway. The players are heading out of the tunnel and we are almost ready to go again. Can we expect a similar start to the first 45? Here's hoping... Half-time mutteringsWhat a blistering start we had to the game! A Lewandowski first for his new club could have put a dampener on things inside the first minute but within five we had a leveller, and one I should apologise for.
I'll elaborate in a moment OK, the anthem has been sung - hairs standing up - the players and managers have done their politeness, and now we are ready to get the show on the road. Isak is a homerThis is proving to be a good place for recent goals for Alexander Isak who has scored three of his last four league goals at home. It's also where he scored his only career goal against Barcelona.
The Swede is released down the right channel and as he sprints into the area it initially appears that he's dinked it over Ter Stegen at an incredible angle but his effort is aided by a deflection of the sliding defender. Still, it's all square and the noise levels are cranked up. The game has started at a lightening pace and that goal from the Pole came immediately after superb build up and decent chance from the hosts. Let's see what else they have to liven up a still enthusiastic crowd. Lewandowski opens scoring Barcelona kick-off, La Real attack, Barça break, Lewandowski scores.
I should point out, for those that have not been paying attention, that the early Lewandowski goal quickly put an end to any thoughts of a new Barça record being set. They'd never gone four league games without scoring... This is like two middlewieghts going at each other, both jabbing, sometimes frantically, other times more measured, and trying to find that crucial gap or lapse in concentration.
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Isak goes over in the area and the nearby stands scream for a penalty. It never was, and most probably know that. The pattern of the game (how on earth did we get half and hour in? ) is settling to Barça having a slower, more Xavi-like attacking style, with some exceptions thrown in where appropriate. Although La Real are also enjoying a decent amount of possession, they are much more threatening on the counter and have those aforementioned weapons at their disposal. "Oooooh... Ooooohh! " goes the crowd. After a lot of too-ing and fro-ing, another streaming counter has the home crowd raising the volume. Merino down the left has a chance and stings the hands of Ter Stegen. The rebound falls to Kubo who steps inside a defender then fires just wide. Birthday goalAs I said in the build-up, Lewy would love a match ball to take home on his special day. Scoring the first inside a minute gives him a decent chance.
Xavi is delighted with that, speaking immediately after the final whistle about how the players put in to action much of what they've been training on, especially in the second half, being more composed in possession when in the opposition half. Next up: Valladolid on Sunday 28 August (with a Man City friendly before that) Full-timeGoals: Isak '6; Lewandowski 1', 67', Dembélé 65', Ansu Fati 78' Peep, peep, peeeeeep! The final whistle blows and it's a job very well done for Xavi's men.
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