With both Sevilla and Atletico Madrid winning earlier on Saturday, Barca knew that nothing less than three points was a pre-requisite against an Alaves side that had denied them exactly that earlier in the season.
An Ilaix Moriba mistake aside, and credit to the youngster for not going missing after making his error, the Catalans were well worth the win.
Alaves were always going to come to Camp Nou and defend, and then try and hit Barca on the break.
So many teams, particularly those at the bottom of La Liga, have done so in the past and with varying degrees of success.
Barca have always played much better against teams that come to play rather than sit back, and when Messi’s goal was ruled out for the most marginal of offside calls on Griezmann, you wondered if it was going to be one of those nights again.
Fortunately, with Messi on song and the introduction of Pedri to move things along, the visitors were quickly put in their place,
A morale-boosting win for all which keeps the unbeaten league run going and provided the fillip required right before our toughest test of the campaign against Paris Saint-Germain.
If there’s one thing that Saturday night’s game told us, it was that Ronald Araujo is probably a risk worth taking. A big risk I grant you, but he is, potentially, the only defender we have capable of keeping Kylian Mbappe at bay.
Teams do look like they find it relatively easy to score against us on occasion this season, and Ronald Koeman needs to drill down into the detail in that area and try and iron out some basic errors.
Going forward, we are much more fluid as a unit than we have been for some while, and the passing carousels are making a long-overdue comeback too. What’s more, they’ve not only been for decoration either.
Short, sharp and incisive passes that cut Alaves’ defence to ribbons at times, and when you’ve got an opponent with five, six and sometimes seven men behind the ball, that’s no mean feat.
Great to see Ilaix looking so comfortable on debut, his error notwithstanding, as well as Trincao finally beginning to show what he can do when confident.
The Portuguese hasn’t looked like a Barca player to this point, but something has clicked and maybe we will see the best of him at the most important time of the season.
There were one or two other standout performances, but none more so than Messi’s.
Though his brace on the night may have been what we’ve come to expect, it’s been a while since some of those Exocets from outside the box have flown in.
So, all smiles for now, let’s hope we’re still grinning come full time on Tuesday. We move.