Who predicted this gap?

It has taken just three weeks for the mood around the Camp Nou to be flipped upside down, as the boardroom doom and gloom evaporated in the bright start the team produced on the only place it really matters, the football pitch.

By late August the cries of ‘resign’ at president Josep Maria Bartomeu, still persistent among many at this moment, were fervent amid the Catalans’ failure to sign Philippe Coutinho or Angel Di Maria.

And yet, with eventual Neymar replacement Ousmane Dembele yet to show his best, Barcelona are up and running with Europe and flying in LaLiga.

The storming performances that brushed aside Juventus, Espanyol, Eibar and others have been a far cry from the initially limp representation of Ernesto Valverde’s tactics in the Supercopa de Espana defeat to Real Madrid.

Is the grass always greener?

For all of Barcelona’s improvements in the past month, Madrid have experienced a dramatic downturn to emphasise the rollercoaster nature of Spanish football, in spite of its vocal critics.

Los Blancos’ early titles in August have given way to a large haul of points dropped at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as injuries hit the squad and new signings fail to cover the cracks.

All that is happening while Paulinho and Nelson Semedo, two of the quietest and least acknowledged Blaugrana arrivals in recent history, make their case with aplomb at their new club.

Naturally, Lionel Messi is still the star and after five matches the mercurial Argentine has as many individual goals in the league as Madrid do as a whole squad. It’s also interesting to note how this has come in Neymar’s absence and while Luis Suarez has desperately struggled for goalscoring form himself.

The season may only be five games old, but seven points is a sizeable margin even with 33 fixtures – and two Clasicos – left to play.

So far we have witnessed a scenario unfold that, it’s fair to say, few saw coming. Least of all those in Barcelona.

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