Barcelona closed down the gap to league leaders Real Madrid, as they thrashed Sevilla 4-0 on Sunday night, heading into the international break.
Barcelona started the stronger of the two sides at Camp Nou, but it was Sevilla that had the first big chance of the game and Luuk de Jong almost found the net, only to be denied by a spectacular save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The Dutchman had a couple more opportunities to hand Sevilla the lead, but failed to capitalize on them.
Barcelona, then, broke the deadlock in the 27th minute as Luis Suarez bundled home a Nelson Semedo cross with a sensational overhead kick. Five minutes later, the champions were two goals up as Arturo Vidal poked home Arthur’s cross, before Ousmane Dembele made it 3-0 in the 35th minute to all but kill the game off.
Sevilla were blown away from the blitz and could not muster up a comeback, although de Jong spurned another chance soon after the half-time break. Barcelona captain Lionel Messi then made it 4-0 in the 78th minute with a beautiful curling free-kick.
The Catalans were reduced to nine men as debutant Ronald Araujo and Dembele were both sent off in quick succession, but that did not affect the outcome of the game as Barcelona grabbed the win to reduce the gap to La Liga leaders Real Madrid to just two points.
GAME OVER. 💪🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/0mg3Md4xCY
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 6, 2019
Here’s how we rated the performances of Ernesto Valverde’s men on the night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
The German international made a sensational stop to keep Luuk de Jong out in the first half. Did not have much to do from there on as Barcelona completely blew away the visitors.
Sergi Roberto: 6/10
Playing at right-back again, the Spaniard did not add much to the game in the attacking sense. But, defensively Roberto was sound and reliable and did his bit in ensuring Barcelona kept the clean sheet.
Jean-Clair Todibo: 6/10
Making his first start of the season in place of the suspended Clement Lenglet, the Frenchman had a decent outing. There were a couple of iffy moments, when he was caught out of position, but did well in general, while being comfortable in possession. Came off injured for the final fifteen minutes.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
Starting as the left-sided centre-back on the night, the seasoned campaigner was a solid presence for most parts of the game and guided his young partner well on the night. Picked up his fifth booking in eight league games, to ensure he is suspended for the next game against Eibar, instead of risking missing out on El Clasico.
Nelson Semedo: 8/10
Another impressive performance at left-back from the Portuguese international. Semedo got the assist for the opening goal, setting up Suarez with a fine cross and was also involved in the build-up to the second goal.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Solid and assured in the middle of the park, the Netherlands international is looking his best in Barcelona colours after a couple of shaky displays early in the season. Had a role in the build-up for the second goal, kept things ticking with crisp and precise passing.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
Rewarded with a start after his strong cameo against Inter Milan in the midweek game, the Chilean did not disappoint, putting in an energetic and dynamic display in the centre of the park. Timed his run brilliantly to get on the end of Arthur’s cross to make it 2-0 for Barcelona.
Arthur Melo: 8/10
The Brazilian is living up to the expectations of being the chief creator from midfield for Barcelona as he put in another fine performance against Sevilla. Moved the ball around sharply with great accuracy and got the assist for the Catalans’ second goal of the night with a fine cross, before setting Dembele up for the third goal.
📊 | Arthur Melo vs Sevilla
41/48 (85%) passes
3 key passes
3 long balls
2 big chances created
4 ground duels won
Massive improvement from last season, Arthur is proving to be one of the best midfielders in the world 💎 pic.twitter.com/beA8qf0kfo
— Frenkie Chief 🇳🇱 (@FrenkieStats) October 6, 2019
Lionel Messi: 7/10
After inspiring Barcelona to a victory against Inter in the Champions League, the club captain was once again in his elements against Sevilla on Sunday night. Looked dangerous each time he was on the ball and almost scored after a mazy run, only to be denied by the visitors’ goalkeeper, who couldn’t do anything about Messi’s superb free-kick in the 78th minute.
Luis Suarez: 7/10
Another game. Another sensational goal. The Uruguayan marksman opened the scoring for Barcelona with a superlative overhead kick in the first half. Apart from that one moment though, Suarez was below his best and was booked after a foul and argument with the referee in the 64th minute.
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
Starting his first game after the season opener against Athletic Bilbao, the Frenchman had a bit of a hit and miss outing against Sevilla. Showed flashes of brilliance, but gave away possession a lot, which will not have pleased the manager. Finished well for Barcelona’s third goal, but got himself sent off late on, receiving a second yellow card for dissent.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
Came on for Arthur in the 65th minute. Helped Barcelona shore things up in midfield. Booked late on.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
Replaced Vidal to take the field against his former club for the final twenty minutes. Comfortable as he helped Barcelona see the game off.
Ronald Araujo: 4/10
The 20-year-old came on for the injured Todibo in the 73rd minute to make his senior debut. However, he lasted for only 13 minutes on the pitch as a foul on Sevilla striker Javier Hernandez when he was through on goal earned him a red card.