11th August, 2019
If anyone was still in doubt as to whether Barcelona is ready for the new football season, all of that must have been put to rest latest on Saturday as the guys from Camp Nou took Napoli to the cleaners with a commanding soccer artistry that saw the Blaugranes romping to a delicious 4-0 victory.
To make it even sweeter, new signing Griezmann got off the marks by scoring his maiden goal for Barca in the very entertaining spectacle which took place in the United States of America.
The fans at this match saw a Barça team full of confidence that suffocated their opponents and scored amazing goals to finish the preparations for the new season in style and give their fans a lot of encouragement for the new season. This was seriously good.
Barcelona made a spectacular start to the game, suffocating Napoli with their high pressing and passing the ball really well in midfield to create chances.
New signing Griezmann missed the best opportunity of the half on a one-on-one with the keeper, but Suárez and Dembélé also had their chances to put Barça ahead.
The defensive problems from the Miami game were nowhere to be found in the first half as the high pressing killed Napoli’s attacks before they even started, and the Barcelona defence was much more alert to stop the Napoli forwards whenever they had the ball.
In spite of the absence of goals, the first half ended with a fantastic performance from the Catalans, who fully deserved the lead at halftime and were quite unlucky not to have it.
The performance of the Barcelona players deserved goals, and no one was surprised when they eventually came. And they did in torrents.
In the first 20 minutes of the second half, Luis Suárez (first on a rebound then with a rocket to the top corner), Griezmann (with a tap-in and his first goal for the club) and Dembélé (with a rocket to the bottom corner) made it 4-0 and not only clinched the victory for Barça but gave the fans some moments of special quality and team play.
The sweet electricity from the spectacle was somewhat dampened as Barça made five changes on the 65-minute mark. The changes maimed the rhythm and continuity from the first group, but we did get to watch Arthur, Vidal and Coutinho in action for the first time in this preseason.
All three looked hungry and sharp, although their fitness was clearly lacking which is understandable.
Even then, Barcelona continued to attack and create chances with the substitutes, with Abel Ruiz and Rafinha especially dangerous in the final minutes.
Unfortunately no more goals were scored, but the final whistle came to end a brilliant performance from Barça in the preseason finale.
If the team that played in the first 65 minutes is the same that starts next week, we are looking good for our first game of the 2019/2020 La Liga season when we take on Athletic Bilbao.
Line-Ups for this game were as follows:
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo (Vidal 67’), Piqué (Umtiti 67’), Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, De Jong, Aleñá (Arthur 67’); Dembélé (Ruiz 75’), Suárez (Rafinha (67’), Griezmann (Coutinho 67’)
Goals: Suárez (48’, 58’), Griezmann (56’), Dembélé (63’)
Napoli: Meret; Hysaj (Di Lorenzo 62’), Manolas, Chiriches (Luperto 45’), Ghoulam (Mário Rui 62’); Callejón, Allan (Insigne 45’), Fabián, Elmas (Zielinski 45’); Verdi (Gaetano 68’), Mertens