Barcelona defeated Arsenal 2-1 in the Joan Gamper Trophy after Luis Suarez came off the bench to score at the death with a spectacular, acrobatic finish.
The visitors drew first blood courtesy of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strike in the first half. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bernd Leno then got confused as the former put the ball in the back of his own net in the second half to restore parity.
We take a look at some of the talking points from the first and only pre-season friendly at the Camp Nou.
Riqui Puig deserves a promotion
Praise dedicated to the talented midfielder from the Barca B team are getting extremely repetitive now but he has earned every single compliment that has come his way.
The youngster was at the heart of most of the attacks in the first half and produced a couple of eye-catching, defence-splitting deliveries to Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong.
It’s worth noting that he was heavily involved in the entire game and enjoyed a huge chunk of possession in midfield. This indicates that the players around him have identified Puig as a reliable passing outlet who is capable of producing threatening moments.
Such a talented player must not be wasted in the third division. Barcelona must strongly consider promoting him or at least loaning him to a team playing in the Spanish first division.
Solid defensive performance by Arsenal
Although Barcelona emerged victorious, Arsenal’s defence put on a solid show in ensuring that total carnage did not reign.
Barca’s first goal was an own goal caused due to miscommunication and the second was an extremely well-taken scissor kick that could not have been saved.
The Gunners were resilient in times of high pressure in both halves. Calum Chambers was the stand-out player who intercepted and cleared several threatening balls into the final third.
Unai Emery should be satisfied with his team’s defensive performance despite defeat.
Barcelona display signs of improvement in midfield
The win was marginal and not pretty. But the Spanish giants can be satisfied after what was probably their best performance of the pre-season so far.
The midfield looked livelier than usual with all six players who played a part making a solid impact.
Ivan Rakitic was more progressive than usual while De Jong dropped a habitual master-class that earned him the man of the match award.
Sergio Busquets had an error-free game and Carles Alena showed confidence and purpose with his passes.
The midfield has always been an Achilles heel for Barcelona after Xavi’s departure and there were signs that it could be sorted soon.
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