Barcelona ended a run of three straight draws as they beat La Liga’s bottom side Osasuna 3-0 on Saturday.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring at El Sadar in the second half before Lionel Messi added two more to become the league’s outright top goal scorer with 11. Luis Enrique’s side are now three points behind Real Madrid, although they’ve played a game more.
7 — Luis Enrique made two big calls: Samuel Umtiti over Javier Mascherano and Andre Gomes over Ivan Rakitic. It will be interesting to see if they’re decisions which will be replicated when there is more on the line in the second half of the season. For the second game running, too, his Barca side demonstrated they’re more than capable of playing with the ball and dominating in midfield.
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — Made one late save when Barca were two goals up, but it was a quiet afternoon for the German. That said, he was beaten by Leon’s brilliant chip with the score still goalless, but was saved by the crossbar.
DF Sergi Roberto, 7 — An energetic performance from the improving right-back, although his crossing lacked quality in the final third.
DF Gerard Pique, 7 — Had to bail out Umtiti a couple of times, but this was more about maintaining concentration than defending. Barca’s back four were almost caught out a couple of times as well: Oriol Riera was left free and almost slid in at the far post, while Leon was given space to run into when he hit the bar.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 6 — The Frenchman looks set to be the pick over Mascherano from now on. On what was a comfortable afternoon, though, there were some shaky moments. Was caught out of position a couple of times, although saved himself with some good challenges.
DF Jordi Alba, 8 — When he focuses on his football, he’s still one of the game’s best left-backs. Created both of Barca’s goals and also fulfilled his defensive duties. The competition provided by Lucas Digne has seen him regain his best form.
MF Sergio Busquets, 8 — With Iniesta back in the side, we seem to be seeing the best of Busquets once again. Was good against Real Madrid and maintained that form at El Sadar. Read the game well to sniff out trouble, kept things simple and was involved in the build up to the opening goal.
MF Andres Iniesta, 7 — It’s been noted in the last week a million times, but it’s no coincidence his return to the side has seen Barca improve. Added control once again and sent a dipping volley just wide in the first half.
MF Andre Gomes, 7 — Luis Enrique is giving him every chance to prove himself in this Barca side. Chosen ahead of Rakitic, he was alert in his defensive duties, although he still has to improve on the ball to truly adapt to the style demanded from the club’s fans. Little by little, though, he can get there.
FW Lionel Messi, 9 — Scored twice on this, his 550th Barcelona appearance, but could have got even more. As well as creating an early chance for Suarez, he missed two gilt-edged chances in the first half. More chances came and went before he eventually got on the score sheet in the 73rd minute from close range, before he beat four home team players to score his second in stoppage time. Now has 11 league goals — more than any other player — and 21 in all competitions.
FW Luis Suarez, 8 — Like Messi, could and should have scored before half-time. Sent one chance wide and then hit the post with another. This was a much better performance than in recent weeks, however, and he eventually grabbed his 10th league goal of the season, tapping home Alba’s cross.
FW Arda Turan, 6 — Fluffed one good chance at the end of the first half, but created some good openings for his teammates, including one for Messi at 0-0. Was a slight come down from his midweek hat trick, though, and he’ll likely lose his place when Neymar returns from his suspension next weekend.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate