La Liga 2016/17: Barcelona 6-1 Sporting Gijon, Player Ratings
Barcelona continue to keep the pressure on arch-rivals Real Madrid. The defending champions lead by a point with a game in hand.
Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga after their win against Sporting Gijon at the Nou Camp. The Catalans were clinical as Sporting Gijon were dispatched 6-1, with five different players on the scoresheet for Luis Enrique's men. Real Madrid’s draw against Las Palmas means that La Blaugrana have a one-point lead at the top of the league, with their rivals having a game in hand.
It was a weakened Gijon side, as they rested players ahead of a huge relegation six-pointer against Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend. But that didn’t matter to Barca, who showed no mercy as they kept the pressure on Real Madrid.
Los Cules were up 2-0 within the first 10 minutes, before Carlos Castro gave Gijon a glimmer of hope. That, however, was quickly snuffed out, by a rampant Barcelona.
Here's how the players fared.
Marc Andre Ter-Stegen - 6/10
He couldn't have done much to prevent the Gijon goal, and had only one other meaningful save to make. That, he made, as he parried a goal-bound shot from Burgui away from danger.
Javier Mascherano - 7/10
Mascherano was given a good challenge on the day, as long as Burgui was on the pitch. The Gijon man's pace and dribbling ability made it a good test for the veteran Argentine. But, it was a test that he stood up to. He also produced an exquisite pass for Messi to open the scoring for Barcelona.
Samuel Umtiti – 6/10
The Frenchman could maybe have reacted a little faster once Burgui’s shot hit the post before falling at the feet of Castro to score Gijon’s goal. That aside, it was very comfortable evening for Umtiti.
Jordi Alba- 6/10
Gijon produced very little down their right flank. That meant it was a rather easy day on the pitch for Alba.
Sergio Busquets – 6/10
Both Nacho Cases and Sergio Alvarez got nothing going in the middle of the park for Gijon. That meant it was easier for Busquets to do what he always does. He got the ball and played neat passes to his team-mates. There was also time for a few party tricks to come out.
Ivan Rakitic – 7/10
The Croatian needed that – not just the goal, but his overall performance. He was energetic, he covered ground well, he passes it well and created chances for his team-mates. When he got his own chance, he should no mercy for Pichu Cuellar in the Gijon goal as smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Rafinha Alcantara – 6/10
Rafinha missed an absolute sitter moments before Gijon scored their goal. He put in a workmanlike display, but needed a little more luck to find the net. He tried a few fancy flicks, but Elderson Echiejile stood up tall on his Gijon debut.
Denis Suarez – 5/10
This was a golden opportunity for Denis to prove his quality to Luis Enrique. But he didn’t. He played far too safely, and didn’t really impact Barca’s play positively. This was a big chance squandered by the young Spaniard.
Lionel Messi – 8/10
A goal, an assist and just another day at the office for the little genius. It was evident that he wasn’t playing at full throttle, but he was still comfortably the best player on the pitch until he was substituted. This was a nice warm-up ahead of two big games against Celta Vigo and Paris St. Germain next week.
Luis Suarez – 8/10
From the opening whistle, it looked like Suarez was up for a contest. He was making runs, he looked eager and he was pressing up the pitch. It is likely that he will get awarded Barca’s second goal on the night, that went in off Juan Rodriguez. But there was no such doubt about the sublime third goal he scored for his team. It was an uncertain headed clearance that fell his way, only for the Uruguayan to thump an emphatic volley before Cuellar could move.
Neymar – 9/10
It was time for all tricks and flicks of the Brazilian to come to the fore. It was almost as if Neymar was at a preactice session, as he enjoyed himself in front of 56000+ people at the stadium. He scored one of the best free-kicks in recent memory, as he curled the ball into the top corner from the right side of the box.
Paco Alcacer – 5/10
Alcacer did score a goal four minutes after coming on to the pitch, but that was all he did. He should have got a little more involved in the play, and dragged Gijon defenders out of position.
Andre Gomes – 6/10
It was a much better performance by Gomes than the last time against Leganes, when he got a cold reception from his own fans.
Sergi Roberto – 5/10
He came on for the last 20 minutes and got himself an assist as Rakitic blasted his pull-back into the net.