analysis | 2016-09-26
Match Report – Sporting Gijón 0:5 Barcelona - The first win without Messi
A fantastic Neymar and a Sergi Roberto masterclass, Barça gets closer to Real Madrid
Barça arrived at Gijón worried about the injury picked up by our talisman Leo Messi who will be out of action for at least three weeks. But the truth is that with a fit Suárez and Neymar, Barça in theory shouldn’t suffer much without the Argentinian at this point in the season. This match demonstrated it, especially with a lively Neymar.
Luis Enrique's choices were intelligent. Some rotations but not exaggerated like the defeat vs Alavés. Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Mathieu and Digne formed the defensive line. Busquets, André Gomes and Arda Turan, as left sided midfielder, formed the midfield. And Neymar, Suárez and Rafinha, in the right wing in our attack. Denis Suárez and a unlucky Paco Alcácer came on for Busquets and Suárez.
Neymar scored twice in an excellent performance. He understood Barcelona needs him to lead the team to victories. The Brazilian enjoyed more responsibility, although we want to see him become even more important. He missed Alba and Iniesta, but with more matches and experiences with Digne, Arda, Denis and André, he will perform well.
Luis Suárez opened the scoring with an amazing goal after passing through Gijón’s goalkeeper. Arda’s assist was a plus. Suárez is now on top as La Liga's topscorer with 4 goals like Messi, Gerard (ESP), Rubén Castro (BET) and Griezmann (ATL), the Frenchman went to score his fifth vs Deportivo a day later. Rafinha, as last striker, performed. He enjoyed freedom thanks to an incredible Sergi Roberto acting as more than a right back. The Brazilian scored another important goal to fight for a chance in this team.
André Gomes showed his control and pace. Not more creative than Iniesta, but more explosive, covering ground quickly and open up the pitch. As a plus, each passing game he plays better deeper on the midfield. Busquets is the best in his position, but sometimes he needs to rest. Luis Enrique counts with different and valuable options. On the other hand, Arda had to play as left midfielder. The Turk plays a lot better on left side of pitch and he is making culés forget his performances in last season.
Piqué is one of the most important players for us and undoubtedly one of the best centre backs in the world. He is the leader of our defensive line. His better partner is Umtiti in my opinion, but with Mascherano or Mathieu, he plays well. Not much of was demanded of Mathieu. Even, he played more advanced. Digne is an interesting competitor for Alba’s work, not faster than Jordi, but his skills are a plus for the team. If he archives to understand his role in three quarters of pitch, Alba should worry.
What can I say about Sergi Roberto’s progress? He understood perfectly what Barça need on a right back. He worked in his confidence and with more work and practice in this position, we won’t need another one and we can wait for Palencia or Nili, Barça B’s players. Sergi Roberto has an excellent ball control and supports the attack very well. Yesterday he gave three assists and now he has four in this league. What will happen to Aleix Vidal? I do not know, but Lucho doesn't need a player like him (especially for his attitude).
Now, Barcelona is second one on La Liga’s table. Madrid drew against Las Palmas and they only have a point above us. With these important rotations, we can think clearly about our next game against Gladbach in Germany for UEFA Champions League, the ter Stegen’s ex club.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
WRITTEN BY: María Viloria
María's a law student and a die-hard Barça fan since the Ronaldinho days. She is football fanatic who especially loves La Liga.