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Barcelona 5-1 Sevilla: three things we learned

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Unai Emery took his Sevilla side to Camp Nou hoping to break his duck of having never beaten Barcelona in his managerial career, a run stretching to 15 matches in all competitions over a seven year period.

Given the way that both teams had started the season, this was certainly the game of the weekend, and one with a few sub-plots to the main theme.

Former Sevilla captain Ivan Rakitic was playing against his former team for the first time, whilst Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu were returning home to the club that are paying their wages until the end of this season at least.

With Lionel Messi only needing two goals to claim the outright La Liga goalscoring record, the match promised to be a cracker.

Let's take a look at three things we learned from the game.

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The irresistible force against the immovable object

What a contrast in styles between the two sides.

Perhaps understandably, Unai Emery had set his stall out defensively like so many opposition managers before him.

Aside from a 5-3-2 formation that we saw on occasion in the first 45, two wonderfully compact banks of four worked in unison to ensure that the hosts were restricted to half chances.

Possession stats were heavily stacked in Barca's favour and with over 400 passes in that first period, the fact that their opener came via a set-piece said it all.

After an hour, Barca's 10 shots to Sevilla's none further evidenced the difference between the two sides.

A tale of two Suarezs

Another interesting footnote to this one was the way in which both Suarez's, Denis and Luis, fared across the 90 minutes.

Barcelona's expensive summer acquisition is still struggling to find his feet in the side, a wide-right berth not really the territory in which to get the best out of the ex-Liverpool man.

A turn of pace and decent shooting ability has already been evident, but the Uruguayan probably needs to be moved inside to get the best out of him. 

With an assist for Rakitic to score against his former employers, he continues to add a certain value, but does need to get on the score sheet himself.

His namesake Denis enjoyed a lot of the ball as Sevilla sought to utilise his skill set to make inroads.

It was his perfect positioning that put Claudio Bravo and Jordi Alba off at the start of the second half, leading to the equaliser via an own goal from the latter.

An acceptable performance from the youngster before departing on the hour has shown Luis Enrique exactly what he's missing.

Lionel Messi - the best ever

Lionel Messi had been a goal away from at least equalling Telmo Zarra's 60-year-old all-time scoring record for the last month.

Once he had expertly floated in the free kick in the first half to draw level with the mark, there was a palpable sense that the record might finally be broken.

His second of the night, and 252nd La Liga goal of his career was greeted with a cacophony of noise and a standing ovation lasting well over a minute.

His team mates threw him into the air in a personal tribute for the best player of a generation, perhaps ever.

A hat-trick goal on 77 minutes put the gloss on his special night.

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Topics:
La Liga
Lionel Messi
Football
Barcelona

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