Mon, 26 Oct 2020

MADRID, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Matchday three in la Liga saw FC Barcelona kick off their season with a convincing win at home to a disappointing Villarreal with a new star shining brightly, while a former member of the Barca old guard got off to a flying start at his new club. Here are some things we learned this weekend in Spain.

1 Fati ready to become new Barca hero

While Barca's pre-season was all about veteran players leaving and Leo Messi wanting to leave the club, their league debut at home to Villarreal was all about Ansu Fati. The 18-year-old was at the heart of nearly all the good things his side did in the first half as they went 4-0 up in just 45 minutes to assure Ronald Koeman a placid debut as coach. He scored the first two goals with an exhibition of cool finishing and then provoked the penalty which Messi slotted away to make it 3-0.

Playing on the left of a line of three, which included Messi and Philippe Coutinho, Fati was unstoppable with his talent and pace, and displays like this show there could be life at the Camp Nou when Messi finally does leave next summer.

2 Suarez makes his mark

Messi wrote a letter on Friday to say 'goodbye' to this friend and former Barcelona strike partner Luis Suarez and to criticize Barca for forcing the Uruguayan out of the club. It didn't take Suarez long to add his own post-script to Messi's words, although it was his feet that did the talking in his Atletico Madrid debut on Sunday. Suarez needed just seven minutes to set Marcos Llorente through on goal to score Atletico's fourth goal in a 6-1 win at home to Granada.

He then showed his goal scoring instincts remain completely intact by nodding home Atletico's fifth goal before then adding a sixth from close range in a 25 minute cameo which implies that if Barca wanted him out, it wasn't just for footballing reasons.

3 Zidane shows his flexibility

You can argue about the VAR decisions in Real Madrid's 3-2 win away to Betis, but one thing the game showed is that Zinedine Zidane is a coach who is willing to chop and change his side in order to get a result.

Last week saw Brazilian wingers Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr. start in the 0-0 draw away to Real Sociedad, while on Saturday Zidane swapped things around bringing Casemiro, Luka Jovic and Fede Valverde into his starting 11, while retaining Martin Odegaard and Tony Kross in a midfield diamond formation.

Given that Valverde scored the opening goal, Jovic provoked a red card and Madrid took all three points, you could say the experiment was a success.

4 Long season ahead for Eibar

Eibar's 2-1 defeat to Athletic Club leaves Jose Luis Mendilibar's side with just one point from their first three games of the season and after seeing them fail to create any chances from open play against their neighbors you fear for their future.

Mendilibar lost several key players, such as Fabio Orellana, Charles and Escalante over the summer, while Ivan Ramis retired, and so far adequate replacements haven't arrived leaving the squad weaker than the one which struggled last season.

They will always be a threat from set pieces as Kike Garcia showed in their goal, but unless things improve fast it could be a difficult campaign in Ipurua.

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