Barcelona vs Inter The Chilean came on and was excellent
Barcelona came from behind on Wednesday night to beat Inter 2-1 at the Camp Nou, with the turning point coming when Arturo Vidal replaced Sergio Busquets early in the second half.
Inter had impressed in the first period but collapsed after the half-time break, thanks in part to the energy and creativity of Vidal.
Ernesto Valverde has often been criticised for not making proactive substitutions to change a match, yet Vidal‘s introduction and the way he dominated in his spell on the pitch means that the Barcelona boss should get some praise for bringing on the Chilean when he did.
The best Luis Suarez is in the past, but this 30-something version is just as fierce, lethal and inspiring.
The Uruguayan’s brace turned around Barcelona‘s 1-0 deficit on the night as he showed that he is still clinical in front of goal.
Barcelona‘s last two victories, against Getafe and Inter, have both has Suarez‘s fingerprints all over them, and they have come after being booed during the home win over Villarreal on September 24. Suarez is back.
It had been said that Sergio Busquets is no longer untouchable for Valverde, which his substitution in the 53rd minute would indicate.
It would’ve been unthinkable a few months ago that Barcelona‘s No.5 would have to do with making way well before the game has ended.
He was replaced by Arturo Vidal and the Chilean brought a skillset that Busquets simply doesn’t possess, but his situation feels strange given his standing as one of Barcelona‘s greatest ever midfielders.
Antoine Griezmann was applauded as he left the pitch after the hour mark, with the fans grateful for his hard work, but his lack of punch in attack is worrying.
He only had a couple of shots, one of which was offside, and he doesn’t seem to have a connection with Suarez or Lionel Messi.
Valverde brought Griezmann off for Ousmane Dembele, with plenty of questions still surrounding Barcelona‘s new 120 million euro signing.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the rescue, as he often has done this season.
The German saved Barcelona from defeat in Dortmund by saving Marco Reus‘ penalty, and he did it again with an excellent save to prevent Lautaro Martinez‘s header from making it 2-0 to Inter.
Barcelona have four points so far in their group, but without Ter Stegen it so easily could have been zero.
On the sidelines, there could not have a bigger contrast in style than that between Antonio Conte and Valverde.
The Italian still experiences the game like he was a player, constantly telling his players what to do and where to go, while the Spaniard sits there and tries to tinker things in a much more subtle way.
Conte only inherited this Inter side a couple of months ago, but his imprint on the Nerazzurri is clear. He truly is one of the best coaches in the world.
Lautaro Martinez was Inter‘s star performer at the Camp Nou, showing why Barcelona had an interest in signing him in the summer.
He was intelligent in attack, stretching the play and tormenting the Barcelona defenders, while he also opened the scoring before being denied by one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
The Argentine’s performances will play a key part in how far Inter go in this year’s Champions League.