Barca's future in good hands as Sergi Roberto shines in win over Getafe
Barcelona achieved an unexpectedly comfortable 2-0 victory over Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez in Matchday 10 of La Liga. Luis Suarez and Neymar scored the goals for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 69 percent of possession, created 14 goal-scoring chances and attempted 12 shots, six of them on target.
Barca pushed forward from the initial whistle and, given the hosts' decision to sit back and defend in their own final third, there was little doubt that Luis Enrique's men would eventually return to Catalunya with three points under their belts. As long as they were patient enough to implement their traditional style of football, Getafe's lack of self-belief meant the game was only going to have one possible winner.
Once again, it came down to Suarez and Neymar to break the deadlock and secure three points, as has been the case during Lionel Messi's period of absence due to injury. However, this victory came as a result of a far more solid team performance, which, at times, reminded Cules of the spectacular football their team practiced last season.
While the hosts were certainly not the most competitive opponent Luis Enrique's men have faced this season, there were plenty of signs to be enthusiastic about. These three points won't help Barca reach the top of the table, given Real Madrid's victory earlier Saturday, but at least their convincing victory in such a traditionally difficult stadium will boost the Catalans' morale moving forward.
Player Ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes not rated)
GK Claudio Bravo, 7 -- The Chilean international secured Barca's first clean sheet in La Liga since late August after a surprisingly placid game in which he has rarely tasted. His awareness and quick pass to Sergi Roberto enabled the Catalan to run free and create the visitors' second goal.
DF Dani Alves, 7 -- Far more eager to push forward than of late, the Brazilian was a constant threat the hosts found difficult to handle. His crosses were not always accurate, but his determination to provide his teammates was admirable.
DF Gerard Pique, 8 -- It was a solid display to be proud of, as if he had used the constant whistles and jeers coming from the stands as further motivation. He was efficient on the ball and virtually unbeatable defensively. Let's hope the No. 3 can build on such a commanding performance in coming games.
DF Jeremy Mathieu, 7 -- Preferred to both Thomas Vermaelen and Marc Bartra to partner Pique at the heart of defense in what was certainly an unexpected decision. The Frenchman was faultless, however, and proved that if his fitness and focus continue to improve, he could challenge for a regular starting spot as the season develops.
DF Jordi Alba, 7 -- Given the hosts' inability to threaten Barca's backline, the Catalan left-back was totally free to push forward whenever needed. Similarly to Alves, his crosses were not always as effective as Cules have been used to in recent years.
MF Sergio Busquets, 9 -- Superb. The No. 5, who doesn't normally receive the recognition he deserves, ensured the Blaugrana engine kept ticking. Inspired when connecting with others and always capable of intercepting Getafe's rare counter-attacks, Busquets' influence was crucial at both ends of the pitch.
MF Sergi Roberto, 9 -- He returned to action in style after a couple games on the sidelines due to injury. Constantly eager to get involved in the visitors' build-up play, he provided two spectacular assists that ultimately won Barca the game. It is reassuring to finally see the La Masia graduate flourishing into the player his youth coaches knew he had the potential to become.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 7 -- He did not shine as much as Roberto in attack, but then again, the Catalan would not have been able to excel in that way without the Croatian international's relentless defensive work. His consistency, professionalism and eagerness to always prioritise the interests of the team to his own continue to make him an indispensable asset to Luis Enrique's formation.
FW Munir El Haddadi, 5 -- He should have scored within the first minute, but his effort inexplicably went wide. His influence was minimal once again, as has been the case in recent weeks, despite been trusted with continued playing time alongside two of the world's best forwards. Time is certainly running out for the youngster to justify his first team spot, unfortunately.
FW Neymar, 8 -- The confident Brazilian used his privileged pace to run past defenders at ease, and he drifted toward the middle far more often in the absence of Messi. He smashed the ball to the back of the net with a spectacular finish following a long-range cross from Roberto for his league-best ninth goal of the season.
FW Luis Suarez, 8 -- The Uruguayan striker kept using his body and instinct to find gaps within the Getafe back-line from the initial whistle. Although he only managed three shots on target, that did not stop him from scoring the crucial opener after a magical back-heel assist from inspired youngster Roberto. Barca are fortunate to have such a highly committed, world-class striker to rely on.
MF Andres Iniesta, 7 -- The gifted midfielder substituted Munir after 61 minutes and returned to the team after a seemingly endless period on the sidelines. He linked particularly well with Busquets and made the Blaugrana attack less predictable when driving his team forward. Cules could not possibly be more delighted to have their outstanding maestro back.
FW Sandro Rodriguez, n/a -- He replaced the inspired Roberto after 74 minutes. Although he did not provide the necessary bite upfront, at least he battled for every loose ball when not in possession.