Neymar’s already one goal up on last year’s league total
The Brazilian’s the second highest scorer in the competition with 10 goals
Neymar Jr goes into the international break with some great stats – he’s the team’s leading scorer with 12 goals in 14 games, one ahead of Leo Messi, with 11 goals from 15 games.
The Brazilian is almost level with last year’s total of 15 goals already and indeed he’s already bettered his haul in the league, scoring 10 in the 10 games so far, compared with 9 in his 26 matches last season.
First Club hat trick in the league
Neymar has made a spectacular start to the season – which he came into on the back of the back injury he picked up at the World Cup and a knock on the ankle which meant he missed the league opener and he is the second highest scorer in the league, behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
His progress has coincided with Luis Enrique’s decision to play Neymar in a more central attacking role, helping him to claim his first league hat trick with the Club in the 6-0 win over Granada. Neymar’s start to the season has meant he has been chosen in the 23 man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon D’Or.
“We want to see the best version of Barça” says the midfielder. “And I think we’re going the right way about it”
Transfering Barça’s values to Egypt
After holding his soccer camp in Catalonia for several years, this year Xavi has decided to open up to the rest of the world and is transferring it to Egypt in late December. “It is a fantastic opportunity” he says. “It’s an honour that the Egyptian people thought of us and invited us to transfer to them the values that we learn at Barça.”
On Monday morning, Xavi Hernández attended the presentation of his soccer camp in Cairo (Egypt) from December 19 to 23, and used the press conference to comment on several matters of concern to the first team. Describing the way the team is playing this season, he said that “Luis Enrique’s trademark is to play well and win, that’s the philosophy at Barça. It’s the same style with a few changes, but the philosophy hasn’t changed at all.”
He admits that the team was far from its best in Almeria, explaining that “we would like to be at our best in every game and for that to happen as soon as possible … But we started the season with a new manager and new players. All the same, we are going about things the right way.”
Xavi is used to all kinds of situations at Barça, stating that “there will always be criticism. It may not have been an excellent Barça that we saw on Saturday, but we are humble enough to be self-critical. B+ is not a good enough grade at Barça. We need nothing less than straight As”.
On a personal level, Xavi is glad to say that “I feel important and useful to the team.” There have been games he’s sat out this season, but far from feeling resentful, the midfielder insists that “Luis Enrique has been honest with me. He has shown his face and hasn’t lied to me.”
The Uruguayan has set up three goals this season, a tally topped only by Leo Messi (9)
Luis Suárez won the Golden Shoe with Liverpool last season, but Barça fans are now discovering that the there’s more to the Uruguayan than goals. He may not have found the target in his first four outings for his new club, but he has supplied no fewer than three assists.
It was he who laid up Neymar to put Barça into an early lead at the Santiago Bernabéu on his debut. Away to Almeria, he was only on the field for 45 minutes, but that was still enough time to set up the Brazilian once again, and also supply a beautiful pass for Jordi Alba to tuck away the winner. He also hit the crossbar and provided a chance that Messi headed onto the bar.
Messi, with nine assists, is the only Barça player to top Luis Suárez in the assists category. Dani Alves and Andrés Iniesta have both got two, while the others are shared by Piqué, Alba, Bartra, Rafinha, Busquets, Rakitic, Pedro and Munir.
The following is a reminder of Suárez’s assists, all of which have come from the right side of the Barça attack.
Having already shown that he can provide assists, the next challenge for Luis Suárez is to get his first official goal for the team. It’s not for want of trying. Against Celta and Ajax, only Messi had more attempts on goal and more solo runs than the Uruguayan. He also has an excellent rate of 70% completed passes in his four appearances to date.
||Completed passes (%)|
No Liga team has hit the woodwork more times this season than FC Barcelona
Messi has hit the post or crossbar on six occasions
The last two Liga matches have seen Barça denied by the woodwork time and time again. Against Celta, the Catalans hit the post or crossbar four times, and the same thing happened three times in Almeria. Against Elche and Villarreal Barça hit the woodwork twice.
In total, that’s 11 times in 11 games, an extraordinarily high number for a team that has scored 25 goals in the championship. In fact, it’s the highest number for any of the teams in the First Division.
|Deportivo La Coruña
Messi is the Barça player that has hit the woodwork the most, no fewer than six times, twice against each of Villarreal, Celta and Almeria. The others were Neymar (2), Luis Suárez (1), Iniesta (1) and Munir (1).
Up to 13 players plus 4 from Barça B are headed out to play with their national sides.
The Barça players called to international duty have two weeks ahead of them to prepare for and play games, both friendlies and qualifiers, for their respective national sides. Five players (Bartra, Piqué, Busquets, Alba and Pedro) will go with Spain for two matches versus Belarus — a qualifier — and a friendly versus Germany. Croatia has called Ivan Rakitic, and Barça B player Alen Halilovic to play against Argentina, who will have Messi and Mascherano, and Italy.
Argentina will also face Portugal and Brazil, with Neymar, will play Turkey and Austria. Luis Suárez joins Uruguay against Costa Rica and Claudio Bravo‘s Chile, who will also face Venezuela. Rafinha has been called for Brazil’s Olympic team to play a tournament in Wuhan, China versus China, South Korea, and Australia.
Marc-André ter Stegen will join Germany’s U-21 and will face Holland and the Czech Republic. Barça B players Samper, Munir and Sandro will play for the Spain U-21 side versus Belgium.
Match dates and times (CET)
Wednesday, 12 November
7.30 PM: Turkey v Brazil
8.30 PM: Spain U-21 v Belgium
9.00 PM: Argentina v Croatia
Thursday, 13 November
2.00 PM: Germany U-21 v Holland
12.00 AM: Uruguay v Costa Rica
Friday, 14 November
12.00 AM: Chile v Venezuela
Opening of Wuhan, China tournament for Brazil U-23
Saturday, 15 November
8.45 PM: Spain v Belarus
Sunday, 16 November
8.45 PM: Italy v Croatia
Tuesday, 18 November
6.00 PM: Austria v Brazil
6.00 PM: Czech Republic v Germany U-21
8.45 PM: Spain v Germany
9.00 PM: Argentina v Portugal
12.00 AM: Chile v Uruguay