Barcelona got the better of Eibar at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurúa as goals from Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez saw the Catalan giants go to the top of La Liga, one point ahead of rivals Real Madrid.
Eibar gave the Blaugrana cause for concern in the first half by carving out several notable chances for themselves, only to be let down by poor finishing and decision making in the final third.
Here are three things we learned as Barcelona comfortably defeated Eibar 3-0...
3. Frenkie de Jong Getting Better and Better
Frenkie de Jong was phenomenal for Ajax last season and while it’s taken him a few games to get used to the pace of La Liga, the Dutchman has finally come into his own for Barcelona. After a slight position change last evening, De Jong found himself on the right-hand side of the trio in the centre and in that freer role, he excelled.
Whether it was penetrative passing into the forward line, his constant pressing of Eibar’s midfield or his own impeccable resistance when bodies were flung at him, he did it all and did it all pristinely.
2. Valverde Gradually Calming the Storm
Prior to facing Eibar, Barcelona were third in the league table, having lost two of their opening eight fixtures. And not to forget, their shock elimination against Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League last season still had fans angry, with a few of them even calling for Ernesto Valverde’s head.
However, since the 2-0 defeat to Granada, the Blaugrana have seen a massive upturn in their fortunes and have thrust themselves right back into the title race. As the campaign moves forward, Valverde would be looking to find the perfect balance for his team.
1. MSG Starting to Shine at Last
Lionel Messi's injury-hit start to the campaign coincided with some underwhelming early season performances for the team. But yesterday, it seemed like the front three were finally beginning to understand each other as they came together flawlessly for Messi's goal and the captain set up Luis Suarez when he could have gone for goal himself for Barcelona's third.
For all the talk of Antoine Griezmann’s disconnect with the Argentine, he was plugged in on Saturday and added a lot of thrust to the team's attack. Operating closer together from a positional sense helped to bind the three psychologically, and it’s now obvious that he is a strong part of the best front three in the world.
3 talking points as Barcelona beat Eibar 3-0 to go top of La Liga