|Neymar in action for Barça against Sporting Gijon|
FC Barcelona demolished Sporting Gijon 5-0 away from home in their 6th game of the 2016/2017 La Liga season to close the gap on leaders Real Madrid to one point as they look to retain their title.
Neymar struck twice in the second half while Luis Suarez, Rafinha Alcantara and Arda Turan got the other goals to fire Barça second on the log as they begin the first of their three games without Messi in style. Here are five lessons from the game.
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNT – SPORTING GIJON 0-5 BARCELONA
1. SERGI ROBERTO IS A WORLD CLASS RIGHT-BACK
Sergi Roberto didn’t play much at Right-Back in the past, in fact, he didn’t play there until last season so it’s understandable why people are shy to call him a world class right back already. However, the Spaniard has shown unreal class recently and has done nothing wrong so far this season. He was the man of the match against Sporting, bossing the right flank like he’s been playing there for years, he was involved in 3 goals, getting two assists and also won the foul that sent Lora off.
People might say “it’s just one game against Sporting Gijon” but that’s not the case, Sergi Roberto has been fantastic almost on every occasion, he was one of Barça’s best players against Atletico Madrid also. He is still young and has a long way to go to match Dani Alves and Co. but he’s following the right path.
2. ARDA TURAN IS FULLY REJUVENATED
The Turkish star didn’t have his best season in 2015/2016 but he’s already shown that last season’s not-so-good show was due to circumstances. Turan scored two goals and provided 4 assists in the whole of last season but so far this season in just 8 games played he’s bettered that record, scoring 4 goals and providing four assists.
He scored once and provided a goal against Sporting, his passing was great and he had his best ever game for Barça in the midfield role. It’s a good thing.
3. BARÇA CAN GET GOOD RESULTS WITHOUT MESSI
Star man Lionel Messi will be out for three weeks with a groin injury and the game against Sporting was the first of three he’ll miss. Despite Messi being out, Barça didn’t struggle much against the host although few chances were created and the game was less interesting without him.
Lionel Messi add some unreal amount to the Barça team but in his absence, Neymar and Luis Suarez took over last season and it looks like that will be the case this season.
4. EVERYTHING IS SAFE IN DEFENCE WHEN PIQUE IS THERE
A lot of Barça fans were in panic mode after the lineup was released and Mathieu made it. The Frenchman has been unconvincing on many occasions but he was solid against Sporting Gijon and this could be due to the presence of Gerard Pique in the back four.
Pique’s intelligence, calmness and understanding of the game is key to Barça’s back line and that is the reason we struggle whenever he’s absent. He does a lot.
5. NEYMAR IS A GOOD PERSON
Neymar gets whistles on many occasions for “showboating” and receives hate sometimes from the opposing fans, however, he showed he is far bigger than just a showboat player after he put an unforgettable smile on the face of a disabled Sporting Gijon fan.
Neymar gave his shirt and shook hands with him after the game, putting him into tears as he’s fulfilled his dream of meeting one of his football idols. It was a great gesture from the Brazilian.