Sergi Roberto: Barcelona's surprisingly effective right-back


Barcelona won 1-2 against a strong Atletico side with brilliant goals from Neymar via a beautifully placed free kick and a Messi chip after going down to a Fernando Torres opener in 52nd minute.

Barcelona dominated much of the possession and had around 13 shots to Atleti's 11 but as like before in this campaign Barca had to wait till the end to finish things up. With this win Barca are now top of La Liga with a maximum of 9 points while Atletico remain in 5th place with 6 points. 

All good things aside injuries continue piling up as Vermaelen limped out of the ground in the 27th minute due to suspected calf injury which may keep him out for a month or so. Iniesta was magical the entire night with his amazing vision and magical dribbling. However Suarez cut out a frustrated figure and also struck on the post in the first half.


Here are my musings about the Atletico match:

1) Sergi Roberto- What a revelation he has been this season. Luis Enrique seems to have made the right decision to use the young midfielder in a right back role in the absence of Dani Alves due to injury and Aleix Vidal on the sidelines due to the transfer ban. He coped well at the back, also helped in the attack and provided a few dangerous crosses. Also in the 3rd minute he made a brilliant foray into the box and saw a certain penalty decision for handball turned down.

2) Neymar- Apart from the brilliant free kick and a few flashy dribbles he was quiet generally and misplaced a few passes as well. Connected well with Messi after he came on.

3) Martinez- Atleti's new signing of the season cut a disappointing figure in his second half cameo and Torres's goal hardly helped his cause.

4) Messi- Luis Enrique raised a few eyebrows after deciding to bench a certain FCB player. After coming on however, in 31 minutes of his play he completed 8 dribbles, scored a match winning goal and was the focal point of all attacks. 5th Ballon Do'r is on the horizon at this rate.

5) Fernando Torres- The only player who was not afraid to attack. With 8 shots, taken he had the highest in his team. Gave tough competition to the Barca back line and was rewarded with a beautiful goal.

6) Atletico's defense- Put their body on the line to stop the marauding attacks on their opponents. But fouls and yellows piled up during the match with Gabi lucky to escape red and Gimenez fortunate not to be punished for a couple of handballs.

7) Luis Enrique- Man of the moment. His decisions were accurate and his faith to keep Rafinha in by substituting Rakitic paid dividends after Messi's entry.

8) Barcelona- Three matches, three top quality opposition. Some beautiful link up plays, some sloppy and nervy defending, poor finishing and a host of referee errors against them. With nine points in their kitty this Barca team seem to get their job done. with a number of players on the sidelines they coped well with the Madrid based side and were the ones who looked more dangerous throughout. Slowly and steadily they are getting into their stead. 

These are the games that make or break a season. And Barca seem to be getting just the perfect start -- may it continue!

By Abhishek Das, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter here. -- Looking forward to reading your views in the comment section!