After being held to consecutive 2-2 ties in its previous two outings, Barcelona roared back to its magnificent best as unfortunate Osasuna was treated to an 8-0 drubbing in Camp Nou on Saturday night. Coach Pep Guardiola reverted to the purest Cruyffian Barça approach, playing three central defenders and two wide men in Dani Alves and David Villa, while up front Cesc Fàbregas showed why the club was so desperate to recover its former youth player to boost its bid for a fourth straight Primera División title.
Above all, it was Fàbregas' exquisite understanding with Leo Messi, with whom he shared a locker room as a young player at Barcelona's La Masia breeding ground, that made it a night to remember for 70,000 Barça fans at the stadium, the pair combining for three of the home team's goals. Cesc, who scored the second after just 12 minutes, has now scored in all three of Barça's Liga matches this season, while Messi added three more to the brace he picked up in the 5-0 opening-day win over Villarreal. Against Osasuna, David Villa picked up a couple of strikes and Xavi netted with a sublime chip over the onrushing goalkeeper.
After the game, Guardiola was quick to praise Fàbregas' performance, but also pointed out where the former Premier League star can still improve. "Cesc's anarchy is good for us. He moves down the right and the left; he is physically very strong with a lot of vision and high work rate," the coach said before adding: "We like the fact that he is so mobile, but it has to be done sensibly. In the end, there is a ball and people who move, but they should move to where they need to be. We do not have a remote control to direct them from the bench."
Elsewhere, a solitary strike by Frédéric Kanouté was enough to give a still-unbeaten Sevilla all three points against visitor Real Sociedad. Valencia marksman Roberto Soldado was also on target to make it three wins out of three for his team after a 0-1 victory at Gijón. Also winning by the minimum on Saturday was Málaga after Mallorca defender Pablo Cáceres put through his own net in the Balearic team's Iberostar Estadi. Villarreal remains without a win this season after falling 1-0 at Granada, the first-division newcomer's first points since being promoted.