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Five-star Barcelona serve up vintage Champions League performance

Where do you even start after the second 5-0 home win in a matter of days?!

Tuesday night’s epic performance will really have the rest of Europe sitting up and taking notice, regardless of the fact that Barcelona will have been expected to beat Antwerp.

Sure, there’ll be tougher Champions League nights ahead, however, it was the manner of the dismantling of the opponents that was so pleasing.

The high intensity was there throughout and the incessant pressing was a notable feature of a delightful 90 minutes for the Catalans.

Antwerp weren’t given any room to breathe and play their natural game, smothered by Barca players swarming all over them from first until last.

FC Barcelona v Royal Antwerp FC: Group H - UEFA Champions League 2023/24

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Joao Felix stood out once more and though it’s still early days, first impressions are that his style of play is perfectly complementary to what the club need.

Ilkay Gundogan had his best game in a Barca shirt too, and as he begins to settle down further we can only marvel at what he will bring to the team.

The crowd played their part too after seeing their side go 3-0 up in the opening 25 minutes.

It’s worth noting that the Estadio Lluis Companys, despite it’s Espanyol history, is beginning to feel like home – and that’s without the stadium being close to capacity as yet.

That can’t be understated because teams need to fear Barca when they come to play them, and the only way that it will happen is if the supporters get right behind the team from the get-go, which they have done so far.

It’s a reciprocal arrangement as you can see the players feeding off the energy from the stands, and vice versa.

FC Barcelona v Royal Antwerp FC: Group H - UEFA Champions League 2023/24

Photo by Cristian Trujillo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Xavi has had to take the brick bats when things haven’t been going so well, so credit is due to the coach now.

As the squad starts to resemble a group of players of the standard that we’re used to, Xavi will have the task of picking the right players for each match.

How well he does so will give us an idea of just how capable he is in the role, or if he remains hit and miss when it comes to playing the big boys.

That’s a discussion for another time, however.

For now, it’s worth basking in the afterglow of a job very well done indeed. A match where every player – from Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the back to Robert Lewandowski up front – can be pleased with their output.

More of the same please…


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