Messi, Griezmann, Suárez... Barcelona player ratings
Arturo Vidal played a solid supporting role for Barça's feared front three of Messi, Suárez and Griezmann but doubts remain about his Camp Nou future.
Barcelona beat Alavés 4-1 in Camp Nou on Saturday to take the overnight lead in LaLiga with several players putting in a solid shift in the Catalans’ final league game of the year, which also secured a complete sweep of unbeaten home games in the league in 2019.
Barcelona player ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: The Barcelona keeper had little to do over the 90 minutes with Alavés mustering one shot on goal – the headed effort from Pere Pons that handed the visitors their consolation. Dealt with a horrible back pass from Sergi Roberto that could have seen Alavés equalize.
Sergi Roberto: Delivered that back pass and had his keeper scurrying to cover for his mistake. Didn’t make much of an impact going forward but as suaul put in a lung-bursting shift before being taken off towards the end for Nelson Semedo.
Gerard Piqué: Piqué also had a fairly quiet afternoon but when he was called upon he dealt with whatever Alavés could muster with little fuss. Got into a mix-up with Ter Stegen courtesy of Sergi Roberto’s back pass but otherwise continued his recent excellent form at the heart of the Barça defence.
Samuel Umtiti: A commanding performance from the Frenchman, who has not had much playing time to get back to full fitness after a series of injury issues stretching over the last year or so. Composed bringing the ball out from the back and unflappable in defence, he’ll have more testing afternoons but just completing the 90 was a step in the right direction.
Jordi Alba: With every passing game the Spain full back is getting closer to his explosive best and although he was involved in plenty of attacking moves his final ball was sometimes lacking. However, this was another fine all-round performance from Alba
Sergio Busquets: The Spain international showed few signs of the fever he had suffered during the week that caused him to miss El Clásico and bossed the midfield, although he didn’t encounter too much resistance from Alavés. Busquets was a little imprecise when presented with opportunities to tee up his teammates in the area but overall he can be happy with his afternoon’s work before being substituted late on for Frenkie de Jong.
Carles Aleñá: The canterano continues to gain weight in the first team set up and had a positive afternoon. He was always looking to get on the ball and keen to get on the front foot. He still has the tendency to take a touch too many when pressing forward but he did his chances of remaining in Valverde’s plans for the rest of the season no harm at all.
Arturo Vidal: The Chilean, when in the mood, is the driving force of this Barça side with his determination and effort. He has been backing up his work rate with goals this season and added a fifth in the league to make it 2-0 just before half time. Vidal is another player who may be loaned out in January but this was a performance to give Valverde pause for thought.
Barça's trident all on target again
Leo Messi: One goal ruled out for the finest of offside decision and another in the back of the net in typical Messi style, hit low and hard just inside the post to take his tally for the season to 13 in LaLiga and his mark for 2019 to 50. Was in tandem with Griezmann to launch a breath-taking counter-attack that almost resulted in one of the goals of the season and hinted at a burgeoning understanding between the two.
Luis Suárez: Two assists and a goal from the spot isn’t bad for an afternoon’s work but Suárez was actually quite profligate in front of goal and shanked a few shots that he would normally have hit the target with. However, he also won the penalty with a header that hit a defender’s hand and stepped up to bury it. He’s had better all-round performances but was still decisive when it mattered.
Antoine Griezmann: Once again, the Frenchman opened the scoring, which in games liek this is half the battle. And when Griezmann scores first, Barça tend to win. His partnership with Messi and Suárez is bearing more fruit every week, particularly with the Argentinean, who he teed up with a wonderful back heel on the run.