Tactical Review: What We’ve Learned This Past Week

In the past seven days, a lot has happened. Exactly a week ago, Luis Enrique found himself licking a few early-season wounds from the loss to Deportivo Alavés. Eyebrows were raised as to whether Lucho had made the right decision in resting so many key players that weekend. A few weeks into the season, we can now start analyzing the intentions of most managers. On the surface level, anyone with a seasoned culé eye would have been able to see Lucho’s clear intention of rotating his players to utilize the benefits of economies of squad– That being that this time around, Lucho has arguably the best and most versatile squad in Europe. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons (in fact, to many blaugrana’s, the only reason) why our team fell apart in it’s only blemish last season in the loss to Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final, was down to fatigue. It only makes sense to rotate as much as possible, even to a fault (such as what was witnessed in the Alavés game), if it ensures that MSN and co are fully fit come April 2017. Other than this, Lucho has pulled a few rabbit’s out of the hat too.

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Player Ratings: CD Leganés vs. FC Barcelona

Luis Enrique experiments with the team’s formation and sees his Barcelona overcome Leganés five to one. Lionel Messi scored a brace and had an assist while Luis Suárez had a brace of assists and scored a goal. 3-4-3 stood in and stood up for the squad’s usual 4-3-3.

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The Barça B Roundup: Reserves return to winning ways

If there’s something that characterises this year’s Barcelona B, then that must be the team’s incredibly strong fighting spirit. In the five matches they have played so far, Gerard López’s men have won four times, and for three of these wins, they had to wait until the final ten minutes to score the winning goal. It was no different this weekend. Against Atlético Baleares, a team that came to the Miniestadi for Saturday’s match while on a four-game unbeaten run, the reserves left it late to seal the three points that rubber stamped their return to the top of the table after last week’s defeat saw them drop from the top.

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Match Gallery: Leganés (Sept 17)

  • LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Lionel Messi (L) celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates Neymar JR. (R) and Luis Suarez (L) during the La Liga match between Deportivo Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 17, 2016 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the Spanish league football match CD Leganes CF vs FC Barcelona at the Butarque municipal stadium in Leganes on September 17, 2016.
    Barcelona won 5-1. / AFP / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Neymar JR. (L) of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring their third goal with teammate Luis Suarez (R) during the La Liga match between Deportivo Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 17, 2016 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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  • Leganes' goalkeeper Jon Ander Serantes jumps as he misses to stop a penalty shot by Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi during the Spanish league football match CD Leganes CF vs FC Barcelona at the Butarque municipal stadium in Leganes on September 17, 2016. / AFP / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Luis Suarez (L) of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring their second goal with teammate Lionel Messi (R) during the La Liga match between Deportivo Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 17, 2016 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) celebates after scoring the opener during the Spanish league football match CD Leganes CF vs FC Barcelona at the Butarque municipal stadium in Leganes on September 17, 2016. / AFP / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Luis Enrique Martinez of FC Barcelona looks on as he enters to the pitch prior to start the La Liga match between Deportivo Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 17, 2016 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Rafinha (L) and Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrate a goal during the Spanish league football match CD Leganes CF vs FC Barcelona at the Butarque municipal stadium in Leganes on September 17, 2016. / AFP / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (C) and Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrate a goal during the Spanish league football match CD Leganes CF vs FC Barcelona at the Butarque municipal stadium in Leganes on September 17, 2016. / AFP / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique (L) chats with Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) past Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi lacing his shoe during the Spanish league football match CD Leganes CF vs FC Barcelona at the Butarque municipal stadium in Leganes on September 17, 2016.
    Barcelona won 5-1. / AFP / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Andres Iniesta (R) of FC Barcelona competes for the ball with Una Lopez (L) of Deportivo Leganes during the La Liga match between Deportivo Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 17, 2016 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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  • LEGANES, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17: Rafael Alcantara alias Rafinha (R) of FC Barcelona celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammate Lionel Messi (L) during the La Liga match between Deportivo Leganes and FC Barcelona at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on September 17, 2016 in Leganes, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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Exclusively for our readers, totalBarça brings you pictures from the team’s latest game, vs. Leganés. Enjoy!

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Preview: La Liga Week Four. Leganés v Barcelona

If the Alavés game was a misstep, and the Celtic game a masterpiece, Luis Enrique and the rest of the squad will be hoping that tomorrow’s match at Leganés falls somewhere in between.

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Review: Back to normal

After Barça’s loss to Alavés on the weekend, it’s for sure that many British pundits saw Tuesday’s game as a massive chance for Celtic to come away from the Camp Nou with something. But taking all of the rotations into account, not to mention the substandard performance of many players against the Liga newcomers, it was clear to Barça fans that Saturday’s game was a mere blip from players and coach, and that a full strength team could easily brush aside Celtic. And they did.

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Player Ratings: FC Barcelona vs. Celtic F.C.

FC Barcelona opens group play of the Champions League with a seven to nil mauling of Celtic F.C. Celtic never looked to be in the match as Barcelona scored early and often, with Lionel Messi starting things off with an impossible goal in the third minute. Marc-André ter Stegen stopped a penalty in the 24th minute that ended Celtic’s best scoring opportunity.

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Is Lucho Still Living in Pep’s Shadow?

Two seasons into Luis Enrique’s tenure, can we say that he has successfully managed to break out of Pep Guardiola’s shadow? Let’s compare the record of both managers, entering their third season as FC Barcelona manager.

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The Barça B Roundup: Heroic reserves slip at Alcoy

Good things can’t last forever. Barcelona B’s winning run in the Spanish third tier came to an end on Sunday at El Collao, against a combative Alcoyano side that will certainly rival the Blaugranas for promotion. Gerard López did say last week that the match against Alcoyano would be war; the coach was proved right as the game was intensely contested and, above all, contained lots of controversy. The Blaugranas almost completed a miraculous comeback after coming back from 2-0 down, but this time round, they were defeated in the same way that the won last week, thanks to a late goal scored by the hosts.

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Player Ratings: FC Barcelona vs. Deportivo Alavés

Round three of La Liga sees Barcelona lose a tough three points at home to Alavés. The club was first undone with a simple cross to Deyverson that resulted in a goal, but minutes later equalized on a Jérémy Mathieu header from a Neymar corner. The contest was decided in the 64th minute after a bad clearance by Javier Mascherano that led to a goal from Ibai Gómez. Luis Enrique made seven changes to the team that started the previous match against Athletic Club before the international break. Even after the introductions of Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, and Luis Suárez the club were unable to equalize.

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