Barcelona thrashed Alaves 5-1 at Camp Nou on Saturday night to maintain their 100% league record in 2021, and return to second spot in La Liga.
Unsurprisingly, Ronald Koeman’s side dominated the ball completely from the get go but found it hard to break down an organised Alaves back line. However, La Blaugrana found the opener on 29 minutes when a fierce Oscar Mingueza cross was brought down by league debutant Ilaix Moriba, who then set up Trincao to score.
Barcelona continued to attack and made it two on the brink of half time when Lionel Messi produced a moment of magic. The Argentine got the ball about 35 yards out from goal, side stepped a challenge from Rodrigo Battaglia and fired into the bottom corner past a despairing Fernando Pacheco.
Barcelona contiued to dominate proceedings, but only after a scare from the visitors. Luis Rioja pulled one back for Alaves fiftenn minutes after the restart, as he latched on to a misplaced Moriba pass in midfield and broke forward before slotting past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
But Barça then flicked the switch and showed their quality. The third came through Trincao in the 74th minute, who scored his second of the night from a rebounded Messi shot. The Argentine then made it four one minute later, when he unleashed a beauty into the top corner from 25 yards out to secure his own brace.
The scoring was rounded off by Junior Firpo who had the simplest of tasks of tapping in an Antoine Griezamnn pull back after a phenomenal ball over the top by Messi.
Right, let’s get to the Barcelona player ratings.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 6/10 – The German had very little to do, but always kept his focus, reading the game well from crosses and making a couple of good saves and could do little about the opposition’s goal.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) – 8/10 – A classy display from the youngster. Very solid defensively, breaking down several dangerous Alaves counters, while also providing a brilliant cross which led to the Barca opener.
Frenkie De Jong (CB) – 6/10 – Was defensively solid at centre back in the first period, and looked more comfortable when pushed up to the centre of the field in the second but couldn’t really influence proceedings at all, making no key passes.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 7/10 – Good performance, showing his quality against Lucas Perez and Joselu. The Frenchman also saved his goalkeeper from a one on one in the first half with a strong piece of defending.
Junior Firpo (LB) – 7/10 – A very attacking performance, almost acting as a left winger when La Blaugrana had the ball, and got himself a goal with 15 to go as he tapped in from Griezmann’s pull back.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – 7/10 – Such an effective screen as usual, winning the ball five times. Also produced some brilliant passes, most notably feeding Messi from deep for the second goal before coming off at half time.
Ilaix Moriba (CM) – 7/10 – Very bright from minute one, showing great composure and an unselfish attitude to assist Trincao for the opener. But the sloppy pass that led to the Alaves goal tarnished the 18-year old’s otherwise brilliant La Liga debut.
Riqui Puig (CM) – 7/10 – Showed class with some beautiful touches on the ball, weaving his way between opposition players. Was key in making Barca tick, maintaining a 94% pass accuracy.
Trincao (RW) – 9/10 – Threatened Alaves throughout and deservedly grabbed his second and third goals in two games with cool, clinical finishing wither side of half time.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 9/10 – Vintage Messi. Produced magic with a wonderful goal for his side’s second. Then waved his wand again, unleashing a wonder strike from 25 yards out for Barcelona’s fourth. And created the fifth with a ball over the top that can only be described as a piece of art.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – 7/10 – A game of missed chances for the Frenchman who made up for not scoring by grabbing the assists for Barca’s fourth and fifth.
Samuel Umtiti (CB) – 7/10 – Very solid at the heart of defence, making several crucial clearances and interceptions as Alaves got up the pitch towards the later stages.
Pedri (CM) – 7/10 – Impacted the game instantly after his introduction, spraying the ball around progressively into good areas, and even created Barca’s third with a lovely through ball.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 6/10
Sergino Dest (RB) – 6/10
Ousmane Dembele (LW) – N/A