Both Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi scored a double as Barcelona thrashed ten-man Granada 4-0 at Los Carmenes on Saturday evening in La Liga.
Granada made a bright start to the game, with Antonio Puertas testing Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal very early. However, the Catalans slowly grew into their rhythm and were in front just twelve minutes in courtesy a neat finish on the turn from Antoine Griezmann.
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi made it 2-0 in the 35th minute with a fine curling effort after being found by Griezmann. The little magician put the game to bed three minutes before half-time with a peach of a free-kick to put the Blaugrana three goals in front.
After Messi, it was Griezmann’s turn to complete his brace on the evening as he bundled home Ousmane Dembele’s chipped cross in the 63rd minute to add more sheen to the scoreline. Granada never looked like they could mount a comeback, with things getting even worse for them when Jesus Vallejo received his marching orders as Barcelona held for a comfortable win.
The result sees Barcelona move to third in the La Liga table, four points below leaders Atletico Madrid, who still happen to have three games in hand. Here’s how we rated the performance of Ronald Koeman’s men at Los Carmenes on the night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
Pulled off a fine save to deny Puertas with the scoreline still at 0-0. Not tested a great deal from thereon, but was alert to deal with whatever little came his way, finishing with four saves, while misplacing just one of his 32 passes.
Sergino Dest: 6/10
Survived an injury scare early on. That, coupled with the threat posed by Darwin Machis meant that the USMNT international was not able to push forward as much as he would have liked. Still managed a key pass and completed two tackles before making way for Junior Firpo late in the game.
Oscar Mingueza: 7/10
Another step in the right direction from the youngster, who stepped up in the absence of Clement Lenglet. Did well to deal with the threat of Roberto Soldado. Showed good aggression to step out and win possession and was tidy with his distribution to help build play from the back. Completed 92 of his 95 passes on the evening.
❗What a performance Mingueza is having.. Gem! pic.twitter.com/THvruIPrx5
— FC Barcelona Fans Nation (@fcbfn10) January 9, 2021
Samuel Umtiti: 6.5/10
Thrust into the starting XI after Ronald Araujo picked up an injury during warm-up, the Frenchman looked a bit rusty on his first start since June, which was expected given how little he has played. Nevertheless, he did enough to ensure that Granada didn’t threaten the Barcelona goal much.
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
Got forward well as is the case usually with him, but wasn’t able to make any notable contribution on the night. Defended solidly, though, helping out Umtiti in the left-side channel. Ended the game with the highest number of tackles (3) and clearances (3).
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
The 23-year-old, who has emerged as a top transfer target for Bayern Munich, continued his good start to the new year. Looked a threat each time he drove forward from midfield with the ball, attempting and completing the most number of dribbles in the game (3), while he also played a couple of key passes.
Fancied a shot in the second half but could not direct his effort on goal. Nevertheless, was involved in most of the positive moments that Barcelona created against Granada. We are finally starting to see the best of de Jong.
Creativity, entertainment, and brilliance
Today, de jong is Barca's music. pic.twitter.com/nHLHvDQCWw
— Marshall bagged at 2k (@Themessiguuy) January 9, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
Making his 600th appearance for Barcelona, the veteran midfielder was solid if not spectacular on Saturday night. Dropped into the backline when Granada looked to attack and helped keep things tight while he showed his range of passing when on the ball. Finished with two interceptions, six headers won and a 92 per cent pass accuracy. Booked late in the game.
Not as influential as he was in the win against Athletic Bilbao in midweek, but Pedri was once again a bright performer for the Blaugrana. Crisp with his passing, the teenager was always on the lookout to create chances for his teammates and looked a threat when he ran with the ball. Won the free-kick from which Messi scored the third goal.
Ousmane Dembele: 7/10
The Frenchman has made a strong case for himself since returning from injury and Saturday’s performance was another stride towards him nailing down a spot in the Barcelona lineup. Looked dangerous each time he ran at the opposition defence, was involved in the move before Messi scored from the free-kick and got the assist for Griezmann’s second with a dinked cross.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Lionel Messi's last two LaLiga games:
⚽️⚽️ vs. Bilbao
⚽️⚽️ vs. Granada
Back-to-back braces in the league for the first time since March 2019. pic.twitter.com/JWTb3qoAs3
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 9, 2021
Looks to be enjoying his game again as Messi helped Barcelona clinch the win two sublime finishes in the first period – the first a curler from the edge of the box and the second a smart free-kick that ended up in the far bottom corner. With the result in the bag, the manager got to rest him for the final 25 minutes as well.
Antoine Griezmann: 9/10
Seems to be finding his confidence again, as he looked lively in the final third and worked hard off the ball. Great turn and finish to open the scoring before setting Messi up for Barcelona’s second. Got his second after the break with a deft finish from a difficult angle. He must now look to build on this performance.
Griezmann 🆚 Granada
2 chances created
1 key pass
84% pass success
What a spectacular performance 👏 pic.twitter.com/ogWpO31fZm
— 𝑺𝑬𝑹𝑮𝑰 🇺🇸🇬🇹 (@TheSergiWay) January 9, 2021
Martin Braithwaite: 6/10
Came on to replace Messi in the 65th minute. Got goalside of Jesus Vallejo, which led to the defender fouling him and getting sent off.
Miralem Pjanic: 6/10
Sent on in place of Busquets for the final twenty five minutes. Should have done better with a free-kick as he managed to only hit the wall.
Riqui Puig: N/A
Replaced Dembele in the 73rd minute. Tried to get on the ball as much as possible in his short stay and looked to push forward. Not given enough time to make much of an impact, though.
Came on for Pedri in the 73rd minute. Had just ten touches, completed all of his eight passes.
Junior Firpo: N/A
On for Dest with less than ten minutes left.