Ronald Koeman watched his Barcelona side cruise to a 4-0 victory at Los Carmenes on Saturday evening, as braces form Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann helped the Blaugrana ease past Granada to jump back up into third place in the La Liga table.
The visitors had an early scare in the first period as Antonio Puertas forced a good save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen within minutes. However, Barcelona’s quality proved too much for their hosts. Either side of Puertas missing a one on one chance – which would have been called offside in any case – Griezmann fired home the opener after a lucky deflection off Roberto Soldado’s boot in the box and Messi finished exquisitely into the top corner of the net from 18 yards.
The Argentine then produced a moment of magic as he converted a free kick, from just outside the area, into the goalkeeper side’s bottom corner, to bag his 11th league goal of the season and ensure the Blaugrana went into the break 3-0 up.
Granada showed promise after the break, but eventually found a fourth after a prolonged spell of pressure as Griezmann received the ball from Ousmane Dembele and finished with aplomb to secure a brace in the 63rd minute.
Now, to the ratings.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 6/10 – Made a crucial save in the opening stages of the match and stopped a one on one opportunity – although it wouldn’t have counted. The German was relatively untroubled after the interval.
Sergino Dest (RB) – 6/10 – Despite looking flaky in his defensive duties at times, the American had a solid game, winning possession three times before being taken off.
Oscar Mingueza (CB) – 8/10 – The young centre back managed the experience of Soldado to perfection, and ended the game having made two clearances and won possession back twice.
Samuel Umtiti (CB) – 8/10 – The Frenchman was a last minute addition to the starting XI, and proved to be calm and collected on the ball. The 2018 World Cup winner finished the game with a pass accuracy of 97%.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 6/10 – A quiet game for the Spaniard. He was generally uncalled upon throughout, making an unusually low 79 touches.
Frenkie De Jong (CM) – 8/10 – Another influential outing for the Dutchman, as he finished his time on the pitch with a pass accuracy of 89% and having made two key passes for his side.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 8/10 – The veteran celebrated his 600th appearance for the club with a classic unsung hero’s performance, making 131 touches on the ball and supplying three key passes while shielding the back four with great effect.
Pedri (CM) – 7/10 – The youngster had another good game for the Blaugrana, making brilliant runs forward to create space. He won the free kick at the end of the first half which Messi eventually converted.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – 6/10 – Failed to produce an end product for the most part, ending his spell on the field with no shots on target. However, he came up with a lovely assist for Griezmann’s second.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 8/10 – The Argentinian showed his class once again and bagged two phenomenal goals in the last ten minutes of the first half. He was substituted with 25 minutes to play for a well-earned break.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – 9/10 – A fantastic outing for the Frenchman, assisting Messi’s first and demonstrating lethal finishing to score a brace – putting him on five La Liga goals for the campaign.
Martin Brathwaite (ST) – 6/10
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 6/10
Riqui Puig (CM) – 7/10 – Showed why he’s considered a prospect. Injected pace and life into the Barcelona midfield and was the cause for Vallejo’s dismissal with a perfect through ball.
Trincao (RW) – 5/10
Junior Firpo (RB) – 6/10