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Ousmane Dembele finally looks at home at Barcelona

Barcelona beat Huesca 8-2.

Andy West 2018/09/11

Barcelona bounced back from conceding a shock early goal to punish Huesca for their temerity with a thumping 8-2 victory, sending the reigning champions into the international break on a high.

Plenty of talking points emerged from the game – here are three of the biggest.

MSD takes flight

More than a year after Neymar’s departure to Paris St Germain, Barcelona have got themselves a new trident to be feared with Ousmane Dembele finally starting to look at home alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

The trio were devastating against Huesca, all registering at least one goal and one assist to lead the goal charge in a performance which shows Ernesto Valverde’s team have a different dimension to their attacking play compared to the relatively conservative approach employed last season.

Messi, naturally, was at the centre of things with two goals including a vital quick equaliser to prevent Huesca from settling into their early lead, and the captain’s generosity again came to the fore as he turned down the chance to complete his hat-trick by handing a late penalty to Suarez.

But it’s the growing role of Dembele – aided and abetted from deep by Philippe Coutinho – which perhaps offers the greatest sign of encouragement for Barca as they prepare for their biggest challenge of the season: regaining the Champions League.

Alba makes his point

Jordi Alba was at the centre of attention after being left out of the Spain squad by new manager Luis Enrique, and the all-action left-back took out his frustrations by delivering a highly effective performance to help his team fight back for three points.

Alba played a key role in Barca’s second goal, running onto an astute pass from Dembele and reaching the byline before cutting back a cross which visiting defender Jorge Pulido could only divert into his own net. And he repeated the trick a few minutes later, racing onto a pass from Coutinho and placing a precise cross into the path of Suarez for goal number three.

Regularly combining with Coutinho and always looking to run onto diagonal passes from Messi down the left, Alba remained a constant threat to the visiting defence and gave plenty of evidence to those who believe he was omitted by Enrique due to a personality clash rather than his ability.

Bold Huesca pay the price

Not many teams come to the Camp Nou and take the lead in the third minute, but that’s partly because not many teams even attempt to attack in the third minute. Nearly every visitor instead adopts a cautious approach, anxiously avoiding leaving themselves exposed at the back and focusing exclusively on defence during the early stages.

Huesca were certainly not ready to adopt that negative mindset, however. They headed into the game with the confidence to express themselves, playing plenty of passing football and regularly throwing four or five players into attack as they attempted to build upon a bright start to their first ever top flight season.

Those plans delivered remarkable instant success as they stunned the vast stadium by racing into a third-minute lead as right-back Jorge Miramon delivered an excellent deep cross, Samuele Longo headed down and Juan Hernandez stabbed home.

Huesca weren’t deterred even after falling 3-1 behind, again racing forward to pull one back and keep the game alive, but ultimately their brave approach – which many coaches would label as reckless – became their undoing as they left plenty of space for Barca to enjoy themselves going forward, perhaps ultimately proving the point of those who believe it’s foolish to visit the Camp Nou and attempt to out-score the hosts.

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Ernesto Valverde Huesca Jordi Alba Luis Suarez Ousmane Dembele