TOP 5 Barca: Vermaelen, Rafinha, Guardiola, Valverde, Betis

Betis 0-5 Barca aka 'Businesslike savagery' | Barcelona Football Blog

In the movie “Kindergarten Cop”, Arnold Schwarzenegger is an undercover cop, posing as a teacher. He takes a chaotic class of kindergarteners and turns them into a well-oiled group by giving them all something to do. “When I blow the whistle, go and pick up ONE toy. How many?”

What Ernesto Valverde has done is he has empowered an already excellent football team by giving everybody a job, a role in the overall success of the group. When you look at the biggest difference from the Luis Enrique years, it is that the team has gone from being an entity devoted to feeding the three greatest attackers in the game to a unit from which an attack can come from anywhere. More here.

Agreement with Inter Milan for the loan of Rafinha |

FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale Milano have reached an agreement for the loan of the player Rafinha until June 30th 2018. FC Internazionale has an option to purchase the player for 35M euros plus 3M euros in variables, which must be confirmed before the end of the current season. FC Internazionale assumes the player’s salary.

In his time at FC Barcelona, Rafinha claimed a total of nine trophies: a Champions League, two league titles, three Copas del Rey, a European Super Cup, a Spanish Super Cup and a World Club Cup. In his 79 matches for the Barça first team he scored 11 goals. More here.

Vermaelen out for two weeks with hamstring injury | Sport

Thomas Vermaelen, who has successfully featured in Barça's last 13 games, will be out for a couple of weeks.

The club said: "FC Barcelona’s medical services have confirmed that Thomas Vermaelen has a hamstring injury in his left leg and tests on Monday have ascertained that the Belgian defender will be out for around two weeks." More here.

For large parts of the first hour of Sunday's game at Real Betis, La Liga leaders Barcelona struggled to impose themselves. The home side -- renowned for their high-press, high-risk style under Quique Setien -- roared out of the blocks at a noisy Benito Villamarin. They matched Barca man-for-man all over the pitch, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen forced to play the ball long almost every time he received it.

That doesn't happen very often, but everything changed in the second half. More specifically, in the 59th minute, when Luis Suarez's pass sent Ivan Rakitic scuttling through and the Croatia international broke the deadlock with a cute finish. Barca then proceeded to run riot. More here.

Only Guardiola's Barça had bigger lead than Valverde's after 20 games | Sport

Barça's win over Real Betis (0-5) took them on to 54 points (17 wins, three draws). Atletico's draw with Girona (1-1) saw Diego Simeone's side slip further back. They have 43 points (12 wins, seven draws and one loss). That's an 11 point gap between La Liga's top two.

Pep's team had 53 points at this stage of the season in 2008-09 (17 wins, two draws and one defeat), one less than Valverde's, but they had a 12 point lead over Real Madrid, who were second with 41 points (13 wins, two draws, five losses). More here.

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