Although Barcelona experienced a false start against Getafe on the opening weekend of the season, they bounced back with a comfortable, albeit late, victory over Cadiz this weekend in their home opener.
If you watched the game you would have seen a controlled and composed performance. Barcelona’s expected goals were at 3.48, which indicates Cadiz was very fortunate to just concede the two.
Having dominated possession with 75%, and having kept their second clean sheet in as many games, it won’t be a surprise to hear that Barcelona players littered the SofaScore La Liga team of the week ratings.
Dominating performance in defence
Pedri is aiming for 10 goals this year, and his campaign is up and running with a nicely taken opener in the 82nd minute, sliding the ball home following a cutting pass from Gundogan, both of whom made the team of the week.
The Pedri/Gundogan combination got off to a shaky start in the physical and embarrassingly officiated game against Getafe, but the two midfield maestros showed a better understanding on Sunday and I expect those two to combine for plenty of goals this year.
Defensively Jules Koundé dominated again, despite being moved to right-back following the injury to Ronald Araujo. With Joao Cancelo set to arrive any day, Koundé will return to his more natural position, but his performance on Sunday will give Xavi confidence in his versatility.
Koundé is now the third highest-rated player in La Liga through the first two weeks of the season with an average rating of 8.2. He trails only Rayo Vallecano Stole Dimitrievski (8.35) and Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham (8.90).
Frenkie de Jong was also asked to play out of position, moving from central midfield to central defence, and the Dutch midfielder was the conductor, orchestrating the majority of the Barcelona attacks.
With Cadiz offering very little going forward, De Jong was able to step up into midfielder more than a traditional midfielder would be able to. With Oriol Romeu offering cover if the ball was turned over, starting a counter-attack for Cadiz.
Last week, only Jules Koundé made the team of the week from Barcelona with the Blaugrana suffering a frustrating 0-0 draw against Getafe.
Barcelona won the 2022/23 La Liga title based on their defensive solidarity, and that looks as though it will continue this year. Although, there may be a few questions asked if Barca continues to struggle to break teams down, especially with Polish striker Robert Lewandowski looking off the pace to start the season.