BARCELONA, Spain — Targets from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi helped Barcelona end the calendar 12 months with a snug 2-Zero win over Celta Vigo at Camp Nou.
Dembele opened the scoring early within the first half from shut vary earlier than Messi added the second simply earlier than the break after a superb go from Jordi Alba. The win restored Barca’s three-point lead on the top of La Liga going into the winter break.
In Messi and Dembele (and Suarez), Barca have the league’s greatest assault. Nobody has scored greater than Messi in Spain and Dembele continues to develop into his function within the facet. Nonetheless, the massive optimistic for Barca was Alba. The left-back is as a lot a left-back as he’s a left-winger at instances. He performed an element in each of the objectives and his passing and imaginative and prescient was elegant all through.
If coach Ernesto Valverde is being fussy, he might complain that his facet took their foot off the fuel within the second half as there may have been extra objectives in it. This, although, particularly within the opening interval, was as well-rounded a efficiency as Barca have supplied this season.
Supervisor Score out of 10
7 — Valverde has now picked the identical facet in two of the final three league video games. He solely modified issues within the different recreation due to an damage to Nelson Semedo. In the meanwhile he is choosing Arturo Vidal and Dembele over Arthur and Philippe Coutinho. The competitors seems to be to be benefitting Barca.
Participant scores (1-10; 10=greatest. Gamers launched after 70 minutes get no ranking)
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GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 — Made a superb save from Maxi Gomez within the first half and someway clawed the ball off his line following a goalmouth scramble within the second half on his approach to a fourth consecutive clear sheet in La Liga.
DF Nelson Semedo, 7 — Returned from the knee damage which stored him out of the win over Levante and stored up his good latest kind. Providing an increasing number of in assault on a regular basis and solely Ruben Blanco’s fingertips prevented him from scoring right here.
DF Gerard Pique, 7 — One other strong show to maintain out Iago Aspas and Gomez, two of the league’s top scorers.
DF Clement Lenglet, 7 — The Frenchman’s performances have meant that the injured Samuel Umtiti has not been missed. When Umtiti does return, he isn’t assured to have a spot within the staff anymore.
DF Jordi Alba, 9 — Good efficiency with a portfolio of passing match for any playmaker on the earth. Concerned within the build-up to the primary objective and arrange Messi’s objective with a fantastic help. Would have had one other help, too, if Suarez had introduced his taking pictures boots.
MF Sergio Busquets, 7 — Strolled by way of a lot of the sport, particularly as soon as Aspas departed injured. His vary of passing has been extra adventurous in latest weeks.
MF Arturo Vidal, 6 — An lively efficiency ended on the hour mark. Has earned his place in latest weeks however may have to add a bit extra to guarantee he does not lose it within the New Yr.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 7 — Does the issues you do not all the time discover nicely. One other assured show in that sense, however Valverde can have to maintain an eye fixed on what number of minutes he is clocking up when La Liga returns after the vacations.
FW Lionel Messi, eight — Has been insatiable this month. His shot led to Dembele’s objective, earlier than he added Barca’s second himself. Has scored six objectives in his final three league video games, however it’s his work from deeper which is basically defining his performances.
FW Luis Suarez, 6 — Vigorous all through however was off-colour in entrance of objective. Alba’s good second-half go deserved a objective, however Suarez dragged huge.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 7 — The Frenchman’s retaining Coutinho on the bench so he should be doing one thing proper. Has now had a direct hand in 10 league objectives this season (seven objectives, three assists) and has netted in 4 of his final six top-flight appearances in Spain. Was sensational within the opening 20 minutes.
MF Arthur, 6 — Valverde is easing the Brazilian again into motion after a latest damage.
FW Philippe Coutinho, 6 — Barca’s club-record signing cannot purchase a begin for the time being. Discovered himself on the bench for a 3rd league recreation in a row, coming on for the ultimate 20 minutes.
MF Carles Alena, N/R — Got here on for the ultimate 4 minutes rather than Busquets.