Lionel Messi thrashes Eibar to extend Barcelona's perfect start in La Liga | Quick Reaction and Player Ratings

Barcelona achieved a comfortable 6-1 victory against Eibar at the Camp Nou in Matchday 5 of La Liga. Although the game was not spectacular, Barca's effectiveness upfront was the decisive factor that unbalanced the game in the Blaugranas' favour.

As it could not be any different, the ever-present Lionel Messi stole the show once again. The Argentinean star continued to excel in the False 9 role that Ernesto Valverde has granted him, taking full advantage of the many fluid partnerships he is now capable to build from his more central position. As surprisingly as it may sound to most, Messi's constant linking with Paulinho was actually one of the highlights of Barca's attacking transitions.

With Luis Suarez remaining an unused substitute, Barcelona's newly arrived manager decided to trust both Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu as wingers and, given what we saw on the pitch, it is hard to disagree with his decision. Denis was influential throughout the whole game, running at defenders and constantly able to associate with those around him. While Deulofeu was far less successful with his final ball in terms of both crossing and finishing, his work-rate and perseverance must be highlighted.

It looks like replacing Ousmane Dembele, while obviously an unwanted challenge, will not be a mission impossible for Barca after all -- which can only be interpreted as great news!

Match Stats:

Here are Francesc Tomas' Player Ratings:

Ter Stegen - 8

Semedo - 8
Mascherano - 6
Pique - 6
Digne - 6

Busquets - 6
Paulinho - 8
Iniesta - 6

Deulofeu - 7
Denis Suarez - 7
Messi - 10

Sergi Roberto - 6
Rakitic - 6
Vidal - 7

As we discussed in much more depth in Episode 34 of The Barcelona Podcast, Ousmane Dembele's long-term injury is always going to be difficult to overcome but, at least for now, those called to replace him during this period seem to be up to the task. We also focused on Cruyff, Messi, Paulinho... You should check it out now!

The Barcelona Podcast is brought to you by Francesc Tomas (as seen in ESPN, The Guardian) and Dan Hilton (Barcablog). Listen in for our opinionated take on the hottest breaking stories from the Camp Nou!