Luis Suarez looks a different player from the one who looked rusty and out of form after his four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
After scoring just once in his first 8 matches for Barcelona and then enduring another six-match scoreless streak, the mercurial striker has five goals and two assists in his last six matches.
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That includes a pair of away goals against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League this week, and another goal and an assist Saturday at Granada.
In fact, Suarez played a role in each of Barcelona’s goals in the 3-1 win on Saturday, including this nifty side-footed finish that froze Oier Olazabal:
It takes time to adjust to a new league, but Suarez is looking fine in an attack with Neymar, Lionel Messi and fellow Barca newcomer Ivan Rakitic. The Uruguayan attacker took even longer to get comfortable in the Premier League, scoring just four times in his first 13 games for Liverpool in 2011.
With an edge on Man City in the UCL and a close deficit to Real Madrid in La Liga — 1 to 4 points depending on what Real does Sunday vs. Villarreal — Barca has a chance to do big things if it continues to click. Its stingy defense has allowed just 15 goals in La Liga this season and, after weathering the storm earlier this winter, manager Luis Enrique is pushing the right buttons as the season hits its critical and decisive stage.
March 18 sees the UCL return leg at the Camp Nou and March 22 is the next iteration of El Clasico, also at Barcelona’s home ground. Madrid will be on the road, but have a free midweek after their UCL match on March 10. You betting against Barca?