Barcelona remain top of their Champions League group after 4-0 win over Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium

While the contest didn’t necessarily live to it’s billing, it was still a very eventful affair. Here are the major talking points from the game :

 Messi proves again he’s in a league of his own

TOPSHOT - Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP / PAU BARRENA (Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. (Photo: PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

Return from injury? Not 100% fit? Not a problem for the Argentine genius. Messi scored his 37th hat-trick for the club, his second consecutive hat-trick in the Champions League, in a night to forget for former manager, Pep Guardiola, as he suffered his joint worst loss since starting his managerial career.

It was far from a classic Lionel Messi performance, but it just demonstrated how ruthless he is on the pitch. City made three individual mistakes (more on that later), and Messi capitalized on all three of them as well provided the assist for Neymar’s goal. When you a play against a team that has Lionel Messi in it, there’s literally no margin for error for the opposition.

Messi now leads the chart for most goals (47) and most assists (28) for club and country in 2016.

Manchester City pay the price for making too many errors

TOPSHOT - Referee shows a red card to Manchester City's Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (R) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP / PAU BARRENA (Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Referee shows a red card to Manchester City’s Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (R) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. (Photo: PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

Fernandinho slipped in the box, his team-mates froze, allowing Messi to sneak through to pick Iniesta’s clever back-heel, get around Claudio Bravo and open the scoring in the 17th minute. It was first of the many individual errors Manchester City went on to commit throughout the game, and Barcelona & Messi were only too happy to make most of those errors and punish the English team.

However, it needs to added the match was still in the balance, with City recovering from the set-back in the last 15 mins or so of the first half and at start of the second half, pinning Barcelona back in their own half. And then came City’s second mistake, the error which changed the game’s complexion completely – Claudio Bravo’s red card.

Once Bravo was red-carded, City had very less chance of getting back into the game. Within minutes of the sending off, Messi scored from the edge of the box beating Willy Caballero after City lost possession in the middle of the park.

The common script from City’s performance continued as Stones-Gundogan miscommunication led to Messi’s third of the game, while Kolarov fouled Messi inside the box late in the game but the resulting penalty taken by Neymar was saved by the City keeper. Not to be too disheartened by the penalty miss, Neymar scored a wonderfully taken goal just 2 minutes later.

City cannot expect to make mistakes and not get punished for them. Certainly not at this level. Certainly not against Barcelona.

Barcelona’s injury woes

Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique gestures as he leaves the pitch after resulting injured during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona’s defender Gerard Pique gestures as he leaves the pitch after resulting injured during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. (Photo: LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

While the scoreline would please manager Luis Enrique, he wouldn’t be too happy with the casualties suffered in the clash. Jordi Alba, who had just recovered from his muscle problem sustained during the international break, seemed to have suffered a relapse of the muscle injury during the match, having to leave the field within 10 mins.

However, the loss which could affect the team the most is losing arguably their best defender, Gerard Pique. Pique had to be withdrawn in the 39th minute after a poor challenge from fellow international teammate David Silva caught the defender from behind.

Barcelona have confirmed Jordi Alba will be out for two weeks, while Gerard Pique will be on the sidelines for at least three weeks. Both of the players will miss Barcelona’s trip to Manchester City.

An area where Pep Guardiola needs to work upon

Manchester City's Spanish coach Pep Guardiola (L) speaks with his players during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016. / AFP / JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester City’s Spanish coach Pep Guardiola (L) speaks with his players during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Manchester City at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 19, 2016.  (Photo: JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Alongside ironing out the individual mistakes with the team, another area that needs redressal is Manchester City’s decision making in the attacking third.

In the last few games including yesterday, the attacking players have got into good positions in and around the opposition box but their decision with the final pass or the shot there after has been a let down. Consider this, City have taken 39 shots in their last 3 games including yesterday’s clash, but have scored only once.

Room for improvement for Barcelona

The 4-0 score-line does seem flattering on Barcelona if we strictly consider the performances of the teams. In the first half, Manchester City’s high pressing meant Barcelona struggled to play out of the back their centre-backs guilty of playing dangerous passes to ter Stegen when he had a man close to him to press.

Even after taking the lead, Barcelona couldn’t build upon that goal, allowing City to recover and fight back towards the final 15 mins of the first half. Manchester City could have equalized in the first 45 had it not been for ter Stegen.

Once City were down to 10 men it was pretty straight forward, but after it became 10 vs 10, City again began to force the issue, though at 3-0 down it had become too much of an ask. Kevin De Bruyne repeatedly and successfully made runs in behind Barca’s defender while Barcelona’s full-backs had a hard time containing Raheem Sterling’s pace down the wings. Defensive instability continues to be a headache for manager Luis Enrique.

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