Goals by Jordi Alba, Gavi and Raphinha guided Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Sevilla at the Camp Nou.
In addition to the three points, the win also saw the Catalans go eight points in front of Real Madrid in LaLiga.
Here are three talking points from the match.
Barcelona take a commanding lead in the league
The biggest thing to come from the win is the fact that Barcelona widened the gap between them and Real Madrid at the top of the table.
Barcelona took advantage of Los Blancos’ stumble earlier in the day against Mallorca.
While Xavi Hernandez and his team will certainly look to win every remaining game in the league, the eight point cushion now gives them some margin for error. This is especially important given the fixtures are going to start mounting up.
They face Villarreal next week before playing the first leg of the Europa League against Manchester United. With Cadiz at home after that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Xavi rotate and give some of his players a rest before the second leg at Old Trafford.
Sergio Busquets the latest Barcelona player to land on the injured list
It wasn’t all good news for the Blaugrana despite the win. Sergio Busquets had to come off only four minutes into the match as he appeared to hurt his ankle after his foot got caught in the pitch as he was sliding for a ball. He was ultimately replaced by Franck Kessie.
While further tests will determine how long the veteran central midfielder will be out, early indications are he will be out between two to three weeks, meaning he will miss the first leg against Manchester United.
His spell on the sidelines — even if brief — is a big blow to Barcelona given Busquets was playing some of his best football in a while thanks to the change in system that allowed him to do what he does best but at the same time having cover in the form of Frenkie de Jong.
The hopes are that he will recover in time for the second leg of the Europa League. With his absence, other players will now have an opportunity to step up.
Raphinha and Franck Kessie shine
Speaking of stepping up, both Raphinha and Kessie did just that. Kessie assisted Jordi Alba’s opener and Raphinha had an assist and goal himself.
With Busquets expected to be out between two to three weeks, Kessie will likely get the opportunity to take his place with De Jong taking over the pivot role. The change to an extra midfielder in higher-profile matches will see Kessie get more playing time. For this match at least, he repaid the confidence Xavi showed him in.
The same can be said for Raphinha who is ahead of Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres in terms of who will pick up the slack in the absence of Ousmane Dembélé. While he had a tough first half, his second half was much better as evidenced by the goal and the assist. There is still plenty of room for improvement but it was a good step towards regaining some confidence and, for Barcelona’s sake, hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.