FC Barcelona – L´Hospitalet Dec 22, Copa del Rey (First Half analysis)

Barcelona started only local Spanish players, as the internationals like Messi are all on vacation. Still, they fielded an impressive and dangerous line up, much stronger than I thought they might need for a Spanish Cup game.

Pedro Fabregas Cuenca

Thiago Xavi Iniesta

Fontas Pique Busquets Puyol

Pinto

First goal from Pedro on an unmerited penalty. Not great to see but it makes up for the countless times Fabregas or Messi have been dropped in the box this year with no whistle. Good finish though, and also good to help keep Pedro’s confidence up as forwards feed off of their goals.

Absolutely clinical work on the second goal. Xavi had the chance to shoot from the top of the box where he received the ball unmarked, but instead worked it surgically around the outside to rip apart the defense and end with a nice finish by Iniesta who blasts it easily into the back of an empty net.

Horrible mistake by the defense on the third goal to gift it to Thiago who, like Iniesta, aggressively claimed his goal with a top shelf strike.

After an Iniesta injury scare and substitution I thought Barca might put on the brakes, but a delicate pass from Fabregas found Xavi, who scored again. Along with Fabregas he is on track to record his best goal scoring year, and without a key note forward this year they have been a major part in taking all the burden off of Messi.

Xavi was subbed, but the siege continued and Cuenca shined brightly as the next up and coming Barca youth team star. Just before half Xavi was subbed and his replacement Tello, a B team player, lead a very uncharacteristic Barca counter attack as he carried it by himself half of the field to score.

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