Goal-fest a week ahead of clásico (0-8)
Barça have subjected Almeria to a rout in a show of attacking brilliance, going 5-0 ahead in just 36 minutes thanks to goals from (2), Iniesta, Acasiete (own goal) and Pedro. Bojan (2) and Messi added three more on a historic night.
Barça could not be going into the clásico in more stunning form. They mercilessly put Almeria to the sword in an astonishing first half in which they dominated play in every respect and took their chances with grace and skill. The reigning champions eventually scored a scandalous eight goals, with Messi getting yet another hat trick to help make it six wins out of six in away games.
Goals flowing from the start
Barça soon had Almeria enclosed in their own half. They combined patience and depth to gradually push the Andalusians further and further back, and Villa, twice, and Messi, once, could both have scored in the first ten minutes. But Almeria weathered the storm for 16 minutes, which is when Messi, in a one-two with Villa, put the ball out of reach of home keeper Diego Alves.
Two more before half hour
That knocked the wind out of Almeria, but they had barely had time to get back on their feet before Iniesta started and finished the move that made it 2-0 thanks to a dreadful defensive clearance. It really wasn’t Almeria’s day, and the third best defensive record in the league took a further knock when Acasiete turned a Maxwell cross into his own net. Only 26 minutes had passed, and the furious home crowd knew the game was already lost.
5-0 at the break
The fourth goal of the night came from Pedro, although much of the credit has to go to centre back Fontàs, who provided a long ball Koeman would have been proud of. Guardiola’s choice to field the B team player in place of Piqué, who is one yellow card away from suspension, proved the right choice. Then we got some more Leo Messi magic as he scored his one hundredth Liga goal, latching onto a loose ball dropped by Diego Alves, the only goal of the night that can really be blamed on the Brazilian stopper. It was now just a matter of how many more Barcelona could score
Bojan on target and Messi makes it three
Xavi and Iniesta were rested in the second half, as was Pedro from the 55th minute. Almeria at least wanted a consolation goal, and almost got it through Piatti, but he was denied by a combination of Valdés and the crossbar. Instead Barça made it six, this time from the boot of substitute Bojan. Messi then made it seven, thus completing his hat trick, and there was still time for Bojan to make it eight in the 72nd minutes. Barça have to commended on everything they did.
The win was assured, but they played on eagerly, and refused to toy with their devastated victims. And so it ended … 8-0! That’s equals Barça’s all-time record for an away win at Las Palmas in 1959, and also means they are in a buoyant mood going into the trip to Greece and then the visit of Real Madrid.
Preview Almeria have never beaten BarçaBarça are the only team in La Liga who Almeria have never beaten, with the Andalucian team only able to record two draws and lose the other four games between the two.
Team look to extend great away startJordi Clos
Barça visit Almeria (20.00 R@dio Barça) in what could prove a tricky game at the end of a week when the squad has been depleted by international commitments and with just a week to go to the big Madrid game.
The technical staff have had very little time with the players to prepare this game due to the international games midweek, which deprived Barça of 13 players and there is also the danger that focus may drift to next week’s clash with Madrid, when concentration needs to be high on the game in hand. As Andres Iniesta pointed out earlier this week, “the three points in Almeria are worth the same as the points up for grabs against Madrid”.
The squad suffered a last minute withdrawal when Eric Abidal pulled out with a calf strain and joined fellow defender Milito on the injury list. On the positive side, Pinto is over his heavy cold and makes the trip, as do the reserve team youngsters Thiago, Fontàs and Sergi Gómez
Almeria in need of points
Almeria are struggling and slipped into the relegation places after their defeat in San Mames last week. Coach Juanma Lillo has been trying a variety of tactical schemes and played a five man defence against Bilbao. He’ll be looking for a first home win this evening, but will be without regulars Pellerano, Rigo, Crusat and Nieto.