Barcelona’s perfect start to the season continues. Ernesto Valverde’s side beat Girona 3-0 in the teams’ first-ever Catalan derby in La Liga and, after both sets of fans called for the right to vote for independence from Spain, it is the Blaugrana that are separated from the rest of the Primera Division with a maximum 18 points.
This victory owed more to graft than grace for Barcelona, their first two strikes untidy own-goals from Aday Benitez (a wicked deflection from a Jordi Alba shot) and goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz (who turned an Aleix Vidal cross into his own net), before Luis Suarez added a third.
Nevertheless, it was another extremely effective display from Valverde’s men and another clean sheet as well. Barca have conceded only twice so far in La Liga in 2017-18 and that record matches their start from 2001-02. Only one team from Europe’s big five leagues, Borussia Dortmund, have conceded less league goals so far this term.
If there was one question mark about Valverde, it was how his teams would perform on the road, given that his Athletic Club side struggled frequently away from San Mames. And it is true that Barca have not always been brilliant outside Camp Nou (which celebrates its 60th anniversary on Sunday) this campaign.
But so far, so good. Barca’s first away game was a 2-0 win at Alaves, before a hard-fought 2-1 win at Getafe last weekend and now this 3-0 victory. None of those can be described as vintage performances, but brilliant football does not win titles. It is better to be effective.
Valverde’s side are certainly that and their sixth successive win in the Primera Division means they are now one of only four teams in Europe’s top leagues to still boast a perfect record, along with Juventus and Napoli in Italy and Porto in Portugal.
Getafe’s goal did put the points in doubt for Barca as the Catalans came from behind to beat the Madrid-based side at the Coliseum, thanks to strikes from Denis Suarez and Paulinho. The only other goal conceded by the Catalan club so far this term, however, came in the 6-1 thrashing of Eibar at Camp Nou in midweek.
So even after the shock departure of Neymar and the injury to summer signing Ousmane Dembele, signs are very positive for Barca right now and a 3-0 win over Juventus also kicked off their Champions League campaign in style recently.
A few weeks ago, Barca were supposedly in crisis due to their troubles in the transfer market and problems at boardroom level, plus the 5-1 loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa. But things look rather rosy now for the Blaugrana in La Liga. They are making and breaking records – and are still seven points ahead of Los Blancos in the Primera Division.