Barcelona 4-0 Granada: Player Ratings
Lionel Messi's hat-trick made him the undisputed Man of the Match
Barcelona resumed their La Liga campaign at the Camp Nou against lowly Granada, fully aware that any slip-up would hand the advantage to Atletico Madrid in the title race. The Catalan club came into the match on the back of an emphatic but bitter midweek derby against Espanyol in the Copa Del Rey, in contrast to Granada’s 4-0 humbling at the hands of Valencia.
The visitors are in real danger of relegation, but had a surprise 2-1 win over Sevilla last time out in the league – meaning Luis Enrique’s men had to keep their guard up. However, a sensational Lionel Messi hat-trick and a late Neymar goal sealed all the points for Barcelona, but Granada did put up a fight.
At the end of the day, it was men against boys as Granada could simply not cause serious problems for Luis Enrique’s men – and were lucky to have all 11 men on the pitch as they picked up four yellow cards.
Claudio Bravo – 7.5
The Chilean shot-stopper was largely a spectator as his teammates did the business at the other end. He was lucky to not have conceded a goal slightly before half-time as Rochina’s shot went wide.
Aleix Vidal – 7.5
The former Sevilla man watched for six months on the sidelines along with Arda Turan as Barcelona awaited their transfer ban to end before they could register the duo. Vidal was potent going forward and can be Dani Alves’ successor in the long run.
Gerard Pique – 7.5
The Spanish centre-back had an uneventful game, as Barcelona rolled over Granada.
Thomas Vermaelen – 7.5
The Belgian has been in the side for a long time, but has made all of 5 appearances for Luis Enrique’s team. He barely had to do much against Granada’s young and inexperienced front line.
Jordi Alba – 8
The left-back was on the score-sheet in the Euro 2012 final, and had a goal disallowed early on in the game. He displayed a lot of attacking intent.
Arda Turan – 8.5
Having made his debut for Barcelona in midweek, Turan provided his first Barcelona assist to Messi to give the Catalan club the lead. The Turkish international has slotted seamlessly into the Blaugrana machine.
Ivan Rakitic – 8
He exchanged needless tackles with Granada’s Rochina and was lucky to escape booking unlike his counterpart who went into the referee’s book for a rash attempt on Rakitic. Rakitic enjoyed himself with his Barcelona teammates as they went for a stroll in the park.
Sergi Roberto – 8
The La Masia graduate seems to be sure of a future in Luis Enrique’s side, and put in a decent performance.
Neymar – 9
Neymar was at his menacing best – neat tricks, sharp passes and a lot of speed. He got his well-deserved goal for Barcelona’s fourth of the night and helped Luis Suarez set up Messi.
Luis Suarez – 8.5
The Uruguayan loves his Argentinean teammate, and laid the ball on a plate for Messi’s second – his 13th assist to him over the last two seasons. He combined magnificently with Messi and Neymar, but missed a sitter for what should have been Barcelona’s third.
Lionel Messi – 9.5
The Ballon d’Or favourite was at his best with his clinical passes, and found the back of the net just eight minutes into the game. He added a second in the 14th minute of the game. Messi rounded off his hat-trick with a cool finish from a ball off Neymar in the second half.
Alves – N/A
He was brought on when Vidal seemed to tire, in addition to receiving a yellow card.
Adriano – N/A
The Barcelona utility man was brought on to replace Turan late in the game.
Andres Fernandez – 6
He was left stranded by his back four early on, but the Granada custodian did well to deny Suarez. He saved what he could but Barcelona had already sealed the points in the first half.
Edgar Mendez – 5.5
The Spanish attacker was deputized to play in the wing-back position against Barcelona, hoping to contribute to Granada’s overall counter-attacking style. He provided very little going forward and was run ragged by Neymar.
Lomban – 6
Messi proved to be too much for him as Barca went 2-0 up inside 15 minutes. He also had a free-kick well saved by Bravo in the second half.
Doria – 6.5
The young Brazilian was Lomban’s partner in the heart of the defence and was handed the onerous task of reigning in Barcelona’s stellar attacking triumvirate. He put in a great tackle to deny Arda Turan a La Liga debut goal and denied Suarez an assist as well. He followed his performance with a string of vital tackles in the second half, but sadly they didn’t alter the fate of the game.
Biraghi – 5.5
The hotheaded Italian left-back has picked up eight cards, including two reds, this season and Granada could ill-afford to go a man down against Barcelona. He did create some chances going forward, but was otherwise below par like many of his teammates.
Krhin – 5
The Slovenian central midfielder was completely anonymous in the first half and was replaced by Diego Mainz at half-time.
Ruben Perez – 5.5
The Spanish central midfielder has had a horrible season so far, with zero contributions to his team’s goals so far. He was completely overshadowed in midfield by Rakitic, Turan and Roberto.
Ruben Rochina – 6
The pacey Spanish winger would have fancied himself against giants Barcelona and, surprisingly, the first chance of the game fell to him. The former Blackburn Rovers attacker created very little going forward – not nearly enough for any tangible impact – apart from a chance just before half-time.
Agbo – 5.5
The 20-year-old Nigerian has manager Sandoval’s faith and made his fifth appearance of the season for the Liga side. He slotted in as a third centre-back as Granada changed their shape into 5-3-2 as Barcelona went 2-0 up in the first half.
Isaac – 6.5
Another of Granada’s youthful and inexperienced frontline, the Nigerian has 4 goals and 1 assist to his name this season. He was Granada’s best option up front but barely had any service.
Penaranda – 6
The 18-year-old Venezuelan was chosen to lead the line yet again for Granada, and has had a decent breakthrough season, scoring 4 goals in 7 appearances. He caused a few problems with his pace, but nothing the Blaugrana defence couldn’t handle.
Diego Mainz – 5.5
He was brought on as a more defensive option as Krhin gave a poor first half performance.
Ibanez – N/A
He got a chance as the young Penranda began to tire.
Javi Marquez – N/A
He replaced his club captain Rochina in what was merely a cosmetic change in a game that was long buried.