Barcelona had no trouble dealing with a trip to face Sporting Gijón, annihilating them by a score of 5-0. Neymar put on a clinic, while the rest of the side were very impressive in what will be a well-deserved three points. Here is how everyone performed:
Marc Andre Ter Stegen
Inexplicably came out of his box to handle a ball, giving Sporting a dangerous free kick. However, that didn’t come back to bite Barcelona, and Ter Stegen was otherwise not bothered.
A natural midfielder, Sergi Roberto is growing into the right back role at a fantastically rapid pace. So far he’s been defensively sound, and he uses that technical ability from his midfield experience to create moving forward. He supplied two assists, and narrowly missed out on the man of the match honor.
Calm and composed, as per usual. Sporting barely had the ball all match, and when they did, Pique was normally there to snuff out any danger. He won two aerial battles, and completed 90 percent of his passes. No complaints about the big defender.
Much like Pique, it was a disciplined, simple performance from the man filling in for Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti. There isn’t much to report on Mathieu, which, for a defender, is often a good thing.
Didn’t contribute quite as much as Sergi Roberto from the fullback position, but performed his defensive duties and was steady in attack. A solid performance, and it also gave Jordi Alba a much-needed rest.
Busquets so often flies under the radar, but he produces masterclass after masterclass in terms of performances. The Spaniard always dictates the tempo of the game, and always completes around 90 percent of his passes from the midfield. Solid but unspectacular again today.
Much better than his cameo against Atletico in the midweek. Gomes saw a lot of the ball, and was able to set up the attack on several occasions. Completing 92 percent of passes, no matter who it is against, is an incredible feat.
Rafinha is a very fluid player position wise, able to operate in the midfield or along the forward line. Moving in and out across the pitch, the Brazilian put together a nice game, and capped it off with a nice goal from a Sergi Roberto cross. Rafinha isn’t a starter, but he’s making the most of his chances.
Arda is such a technically brilliant player, and he was instrumental in Barcelona’s dismantling of Sporting. He supplied an assist and scored late on, and it was much deserved. In Lionel Messi’s absence, Turan will be very important.
Finally. After a disappointing run where Suarez looked a little lost, he found his feet ever so slightly today, with a brilliantly taken goal. That will be huge for his confidence, which he had looked a bit short of prior to this match.
What. A. Performance. With Messi gone, Neymar took on the role of chief playmaker, and boy did he impress. The Brazilian scored two goals, and seemed to be involved in every attacking move that Barcelona created. Absolute masterclass.
Suarez came on for Busquets halfway through the second act, and can be quite proud of his performance. He was smooth on the ball, and completed every single pass he attempted, including one assist. Great cameo.
He’s taking some time to settle in, and it isn’t fair to judge him when he’s making short 20 minute appearances. He didn’t have to do much, but featured as Barcelona tacked on goals late. Still looking for his first, though.
Despite losing Messi, Enrique was more than capable of setting up his team for success. Clearly, he designed the plan so that everything went through Neymar, and it worked quite well, I must say. Well done, three points totally earned.