Spanish giants Barcelona scored four goals in a match for the third game in a row as they saw off Athletic Bilbao 4-0 on Sunday evening.
This was the second match in a space of four days that the Catalans scored four goals, having booked a place in the Europa League round of 16 with a 4-2 win over Napoli on Thursday night.
Prior to the aforementioned games, Xavi Hernandez’s team had easily dispatched Valencia 4-1 in LaLiga.
The recent results have all but underlined their recent turn of fortunes, which can, to a greater part, be attributed to the recent arrivals.
New arrivals and change of style
The arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adama Traore and Ferran Torres has got the Catalans playing differently.
The trio has breathed new life into the Barcelona attack and also, given Xavi room to change the playing style.
The club was known for its possession-based style, tiki-taka, that was synonymous with Pep Guardiola.
Xavi played under the legendary Spanish coach, and he has, from the first day, tried to tune the team in that direction.
His work is finally starting to show with the club. A team that seemed to struggle early in the season under Ronald Koeman is slowly becoming a joy to watch in recent weeks.
Traore, Aubameyang, and Torres have made 18 appearances in all competitions so far, scoring six goals and contributing seven assists.
What Xavi thinks about newcomers
“I don’t know what would have happened if they didn’t come,” Xavi told reporters after Sunday’s match. “It would have been more difficult, that’s clear.
“Aubameyang hasn’t surprised me because he has had a goal all his career. He has surprised me at work. Adama has surprised me in decision-making, how he has matured.
“Ferran seems to me to be a footballer of another level. I asked for him. He is a spectacular player. He is a world-class footballer. Perhaps he is the one that has surprised me the most. I already expected it, but I can confirm it. He is a marvel of soccer player.”
When you have five goals in your last three games pic.twitter.com/dWam8et8Xu
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 28, 2022
A late LaLiga charge?
The Catalans’ main aim was a top-four finish, which will guarantee them a Champions League spot next season.
Four wins in the last five matches has seen them strengthen their grip on fourth spot, and could move above Real Betis into third if they win their match at hand.
They are currently 15 points off leaders and bitter rivals Real Madrid, who have played one more match.
We can’t rule out a late charge for the title, but it looks highly unlikely considering Madrid are not dropping points that much.