Ousmane Dembélé was the star of the show as Barcelona smashed Osasuna 4-0 to climb La Liga.
The Blaugrana rose to third in the table with the win, level on points with Atlético Madrid but with a game in-hand on Diego Simeone’s men. Barcelona’s push for a Champions League place continues as they are now one of Spain’s form sides.
And Dembélé is a big reason why.
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Tonight he obliterated the Osasuna defence from start to finish. The Frenchman bagged two assists at the Camp Nou for the second La Liga game in a row, having already stolen headlines a couple weeks earlier when he came off the bench to mangle Athletic Club.
But that was a fast player against a tired defence late in the game, he started the Osasuna game and yet still dominated proceedings. Although he wasn’t involved in the opening goal, everything else belonged to him.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Dembélé cut in from the right and played a delirious Messi-esque diagonal pass scything the Osasuna defence apart to set Ferran Torres up for his second of the night. And then just over five minutes later, he helped make it 3-0.
A peach of a whipped ball came in from the right and the defenders had no chance as Aubameyang curved his run in behind the defence to stab it home at the near-post. A lovely goal and a great moment for Aubameyang and Dembélé, who were team-mates half a decade ago at Borussia Dortmund together.
Ousmane Dembélé has now provided 2+ assists in back-to-back LaLiga games at Camp Nou:
🅰️🅰️ vs. Athletic Club
🅰️🅰️ vs. Osasuna
He’s back. 😍 pic.twitter.com/NH5BL3LobF
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 13, 2022
Then, of course, it was his pass that led to Riqui Puig’s goal, albeit the Catalan missed his first shot before scoring the rebound, which robbed Dembélé of a hat-trick of assists. Still, though, two assists in the last week, four in total when considering his appearance against Athletic.
Dembélé was deadly at the Camp Nou. He made 93 touches, created a game-high 5 chances, completed an impressive 5/6 take-ons and even won 3/3 tackles so you couldn’t even suggest that he’s a defensive dilletante anymore. He was everything Barcelona have always wanted him to be. Can he keep this level of performance up? Will Barcelona convince him to renew? These are the key questions.
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With Dembélé driving them forward, Barcelona racked up yet another impressive win. They have now scored 41 times under Xavi’s leadership, more than anyone else in that time. They’ve had 22 different players score goals, which is also more than anyone else. And finally they’ve scored 4 goals in five separate games since the start of February.
Dembélé is the team’s joint-top assist maker with 7, which is his best-ever total as a Barcelona player. He’s racked up these 7 assists in just 676 minutes of play, which is remarkable because only Oscar Trejo (9 assists in 1,656 minutes) and Karim Benzema (10 assists in 1,972 minutes) have more than him. Xavi is getting the best out of his wing wonder.
Ousmane Dembélé has always had world-class ability. Xavi was not exaggerating when he said the winger could be among the very best players in the world. He has that talent, all he needs is consistent good health and the kind of application and determination he showed tonight. If he can keep on being this decisive this often, Barcelona should find themselves heading for a very promising future.