Barcelona vs Real Murcia

Barcelona

Barca beat Segunda B side Murcia 3-0 away in the first leg and this second match looked like a formality. However, the Blaugrana will have taken nothing for granted after seeing Madrid toil to a 2-2 draw at home to Fuenlabrada on Tuesday. They knew this needed to be a professional performance.

However, that has been the nature of Barca's season so far under Ernesto Valverde. Since losing the Spanish Supercopa 5-1 on aggregate to Los Blancos back in August, the Catalans have been impeccable, conceding only six goals all season, leading La Liga and also their Champions League group.

Valverde picked a young side, with Oriol Busquets (no relation to Sergio) making his debut in midfield and opportunities for Carles Alena, Denis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Gerard Deulofeu.

Both Denis and Vidal took that chance, scoring a goal apiece, along with others from captain Gerard Pique, Paco Alcacer and Jose Arnaiz. Deulofeu, though, was the one real disappointment, as he struggles to make the most of his opportunities since returning to Barca over the summer.

The rest of the team was impressive, though, just like the senior side has been so far throughout this season - ever since the Supercopa, loss at least. That seems like a distant memory now and Valverde said after the match: "The sensations are good in general. The team showed attitude and also responsibility in front of the fans. The young players all did well."

Asked if he was worried about Deulofeu, Valverde replied: "He is not ill and he doesn't have any physical problems, so why should I be worried?"

Indeed, the fact that one or two players are off form right now (Luis Suarez is another) will not be too much of a concern for the Barca boss, because his team are hardly conceding any goals and they are picking up impressive results in all competitions.

On Wednesday, it was a happy birthday, a special anniversary and another memorable win for Valverde's Barcelona. Since the Supercopa and all the pessimism of the summer, things could not have gone better.

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