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Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo La Coruña: Player Ratings

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
7.05K   //    18 Dec 2017, 09:02 IST

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Barcelona warmed up for their festive clash against Real Madrid in El Clasico next week by stretching their lead at the top of La Liga table to six points. They are now 11 points clear of their eternal rivals, who are fourth, after easing past Deportivo La Coruña 4-0 at the Camp Nou.

A brace each for Luis Suarez and Paulinho saw the home side emphatically stretch Ernesto Valverde's unbeaten start in La Liga to 16 games. Andres Iniesta showed he still has a lot left in the tank with a timely performance ahead of the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu but unfortunately, it wasn't Lionel Messi's day.

The Argentine missed a penalty, along with a host of other chances. However, he'll be eager to be at the top of his game right in front of personal rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here are the player ratings.

Barcelona

Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10

Ter Stegen was solid, without being tested much. He showed his quality in helping transitions in the first half; immediately after a Deportivo attack, he released the ball to Paulinho in midfield and the Brazilian found Messi who crashed the crossbar. The German also made a good save from Lucas Perez in second-half stoppage time.

Jordi Alba – 7/10

Enjoyed a lively start to the game at both ends, with everything coming from the left-hand side early on for Barcelona. Alba has not been at his best this season but put in a timely display, covering across the backline too. Unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the second half when he hit the post; Paulinho tapped home the rebound.

Thomas Vermaelen – 6/10

The Belgian helped keep Lucas Perez quiet but didn’t have too many problems to deal with. He and Pique kept a high line of defence, with very little trouble despite Perez, Adrian Lopez and Carles Gil refusing to give in up front for the visitors.

Gerard Pique – 6/10

Like Vermaelen, Pique was as solid as he had to be. The action was rare, but he did the job when called upon, getting into position when either Carles Gil or Adrian Lopez got in behind the fullbacks.

Sergi Roberto – 6/10

Roberto has been good when called upon at right-back, and Nelson Semedo’s absence meant he was again. It was his pinpoint, first-time cross which set up Luis Suarez for his second goal, but he got up to offer a wide outlet whenever he could. Thanks to him and Alba, Depor were suffocated and penned in most of the time.

Ivan Rakitic – 6/10

Rakitic filled in for Sergio Busquets, who was rested with the risk of another booking ruling him out of El Clasico. The Croat’s job was to go under the radar, keep the game ticking over and allow the likes of Messi and Iniesta to run the show further up the field. Boy, they certainly did that. Rakitic will be pleased to go back to his usual role at the Bernabeu.

Paulinho – 7/10

It was another performance which proved so many doubters wrong. Paulinho covered a lot of ground, kept the balance in midfield and deserved two goals for getting into the right positions, first tapping home the rebound from Messi in the first half and similarly Alba’s effort after the break.

Andres Iniesta – 8/10

A vintage performance from the 33-year-old, rolling back the years. Iniesta moved around the pitch with grace, but it was his passing that proved decisive. He set up a number of chances as well as starting the moves for both of Suarez’s goals. He was substituted after just 55 minutes with the game at 3-0; his score would have been higher had he stayed on the pitch longer.

Lionel Messi – 7/10

Messi would have been so frustrated coming off the pitch. He found so much space behind the Deportivo midfield, utilising his free role cutting in from the right brilliantly. Having hit the bar and the post, in the build-up to Paulinho’s goal and from a second-half free kick, he can count himself unlucky not to have added to his 18 LaLiga goals. He gets a point knocked off for his penalty miss as well as failing to convert a couple of sitters; in reality, he could have had a hattrick – at least. How didn’t he score?

Paco Alcacer – N/A

Alcacer was substituted with an injury and replaced by Aleix Vidal after just 23 minutes having barely impacted the game.

Luis Suarez – 7/10

The Blaugrana number 9 led the line well, linking up with Messi and Alba effectively. Suarez looked lively and grabbed two much-needed goals, but was perhaps unlucky not to have a hat-trick courtesy of goal-line technology. He was again denied by Ruben in the second half and hit the post late on.

Substitutes:

Aleix Vidal – 6/10

Vidal was probably not expecting as big a role as he got at the Camp Nou on Sunday, but he played the majority of the game as Alcacer’s replacement. Surprisingly, Ernesto Valverde didn’t change the system, and the Catalan made something of an impact in the final third, particularly in the first half, drawing a good save out of Ruben.

Andre Gomes – 5/1

The game was already won when Gomes replaced the irrepressible Iniesta just shy of the hour mark. He didn’t do much wrong, but he barely impacted the game, certainly not on the same level as the man he stepped on the pitch instead of. In reality, this was a game to sum up his Barcelona career – not a disaster, but nothing special.

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ANALYST
Freelance European football journalist with various websites.
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