Barça move into the quarter finals of the Champions League and send a warning to the rest of their rivals in the competition. After the performance at the Camp Nou last night, the illusion has been restored to the fan base. Barça didn't only qualify for the quarter finals for the 22nd time but showed they are a force to be reckoned with. Valverde's team were in complete control against Lyon after a goalless draw in France left the tie finely balanced.
It's true that, once again, everything important went through Lionel Messi. He had a hand in four of the five goals last night. With Lyon set up to defend, frustrate and limit Barça's ability to break them down it was down to the Argentine magician to find a way through. A Lyon goal, when they should have been dead and buried, allowed the contest to open up but two quick changes from the bench and Messi's influence was enough to secure a routine victory.
The good aspect of the contest was that Valverde was able to combine his Plan A, take control, alongside Plan B, aggressiveness and striking on the counterattack. Both systems were on show throughout the contest and it's been an obsession of Valverde to find a way to balance the two. It came as no surprise this was made possible with Arthur in the line up alongside Arturo Vidal.
Lessons have been learnt since that cruel night in Roma. 333 days have passed since they were eliminated in Italy when the team was unable to combine the two systems. Against Lyon, it all came together at the right time. It was important for both the team and the coach to put the wrongs of the past behind them and demonstrate once again they are a side to fear.
COUTINHO'S RETURN TO FORM IS ANOTHER VALVERDE SUCCESS
Another of the key moments from last night's match was the return of the real Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian was much better than we've seen in previous months and looked full of confidence. He got himself on the scoresheet, much to his coach's delight, and if Coutinho can maintain this level until the end of the season it adds another string to Barcelona's bow. Valverde first rescued Dembele from his poor run of form and it appears Coutinho is also on the road to recovery.