11th win in a row in La Liga for Barça that read the game against Eibar perfectly, with Messi as a conductor. Comfortable win that enabled resting in the second half and making one more step towards the La Liga title. A real show from the Blaugrana number 10 among a total control and good ball clearance of the team.
Some details of the game:
It's nothing new to say that Messi dominates all the registers offensively and that, like many coaches said, if someday comes the time to defend, he would also be the best in that area. Another thing is when he decides to play one way or another. In Ipurua, like in the majority of the games he had the best possible reading of the game.
Mendilibar's Eibar went up to put pressure on Barça in their half, generating space in the back of the Basque defence, a gift for Suárez's runs, an invitation for Messi's through balls. The Blaugrana number 10 made the show in the first half thanks to a pass that is becoming year after year his trademark and that, thanks to the Uruguyan's complicity (Neymar didn't play) proved once again very efficient. On one of those passes has come the goal of the 0-1.
A sort of powerful lobbed ball that requires power and accuracy to disable the opponent's defence and set on the teammate, that is normally either in front of the goalkeeper or in ideal conditions to male an assist.
It is one of the areas that generated doubts about the Blaugrana style of play in the first few months of the year. While facing fearless teams that came up to pressure them, Luis Enrique's men had not been very reassuring as for breaking those pressure lines. Today on the other hand, on one of the smallest pitches of the first division, the plays have started from behind, with a very good circulation, driven passes and without any doubts. This has tired out Eibar, who ran kilometers without being rewarded. Once the pressure was defused, Barça settled in the opponent's half. This is proved by LaTdP's analytics:
In the final minutes of the first half, Eibar have been even more aggressive pressuring in the opposite half, which has resulted in a much harder defensive fall-back for Mendilibar's men once overtaken. This has favoured Barça to be deadly on the break with Messi's 0-2 goal, in a 3-on-3 situation, finished individually by the Argentine.
Decide the games early to be able to rest
Barça have been playing a game every 3 or 4 days for over 2 months now. In many of those games they couldn't decide the result and they suffered some bursts that could have deprived them from a few points in the almost flawless streak since the beginning of the year. However, in Ipurua, they decided it at the beginning of the second half. After conceding two goals in the first half, Eibar tries to use their last bullets to come back in the game but they were clueless about Barça's control of the ball. This provoked a feeling of boredom in the Basque stadium where the only thing that was happening was time flying away. Barça could have some rest while possessing the ball and at 0-3 Luis Enrique didn't doubt. Three substitutions to manage the efforts. Now, they can enjoy one full week without game in between.