"This is science fiction" or Sergio Aguero takes Barcelona to school *
Watching Sergio Aguero tear Barcelona apart on Saturday night was both depressing and humbling. Two gols, one assist, the second gol nothing short of incredible, el Kun tore through the blaugrana defense, leaving both Charly Puyol and Gaby Milto on their backsides and hammered past Victor Valdes (more on him later). Despite taking the lead through a fabulous overhead kick from 'dinho, Barcelona quickly found themselves 2-1 down thanks to a deflected shot from Aguero and dreadful gol keeping error from Valdes who collapsed like a sack of potatoes at the near post as Maxi's low shot flew past him and into the bottom corner. Things would go from bad to worse mid way through the second half when Aguero went down under pressure from Puyol and Diego Forlan smashed home the penalty. And that was it really as far as the result was concerned. Eto'o would pull one back late on but not before el Kun had beaten four blaugrana defenders and left Valdes picking the ball out of the net for the fourth time. 4-2. Shocking stuff.
So Madrid, who won 2-3 thanks to a brace from Robinho, are five points ahead again and there's lots of head-shaking and staring at the ground going on at the Camp Nou. It's almost three years since Barcelona conceded four gols in a Liga game, they lost 4-2 to the other Madrid with Zizou, Ronaldo and a certain Michael Owen among the scorers for Real. That was in April '05 and ultimately it would count for nothing as they wrapped up the league a few games later, a nervy 1-1 draw away to Levante.
Where Barcelona go from here will define the rest of their season. After Celtic at home tomorrow night (Sky Sports 2, kick off at 7:45pm) they have two tough fixtures. Villarreal, currently third, at home on Sunday night followed by Almeria away. Rijkaard's side need to leave last night behind them, thump Celtic and get back on track. Messi, in great form and inexplicably left out of the starting eleven on Saturday, will presumably be back as will Yaya Toure, who didn't even make the squad against Atleti, also back in the frame.
Reserve gol keeper, Albert Jorquera, currently out with a knee injury what will keep him sidelined until the end of the season, has signed a new contract. His current deal expires at the end of this season and there was talk that he might be let go but the blaugrana have decided to stick with him until 2010 at least. A good shot-stopper, Jorquera is fairly ropey at pretty much everything else but as a reserve 'keeper he's decent enough. On the back of this I'd expect Jose Pinto to go back to Celta when his loan finishes in June.
* Mal, this headline is for you :)