Barcelona 5-0 Eibar: Lionel Messi scores four for Arthur’s late strike and Martin Braithwaite makes his debut after controversial move from Leganes with assist as Quique Setiens men return to the top of La Liga
- Lionel Messi scored a hat trick in the first half when Barcelona came out with a comfortable win over Eibar in Camp Nou
- The Argentinian, in his usual ruthless manner, finished three chances in the first half to pass the game past Eibar
- The hosts missed numerous opportunities in the second half before Martin Braithwaite assisted Messi for his fourth
- Arthur then added a fifth just before the end after the ball hit his path after Arturo Vidal’s shot
Lionel Messi scored four goals when Barcelona defeated Eibar 5-0 in Camp Nou and the most relieved man in the stadium was club president Josep Bartomeu, who was faced with a white handkerchief protest before the game with supporters around the stadium sending him off to finish to enter.
Angry fans may forget the club’s institutional crisis a while after this big win. No wonder an early headline in Spain simply read ‘Messi President’.
The impressive victory also marked the debut of former Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite and he was impressive as a late substitute – creating Messi’s fourth goal and finishing Arthur Melo for number five.
Lionel Messi scored a hat trick in the first half when Barcelona drove to a convincing victory against relegated-threatened Eibar
Messi had not scored for four games, but ended that point with a cheeky finish after finding his way through challenges
Quick passing of Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal left Messi free left racing before a nice finish in the corner
The attacked president Bartomeu is stumbling from one crisis to the other. This week’s episode focuses on allegations that a company employed by the club to control social media had been behind various online accounts that had lubricated the reputation of certain prominent players and former players with the club.
Messi was one of those allegedly the target and he said halfway through the week that it was a “strange situation,” but the president had assured the players that he knew nothing about it.
Messi did not let any of the off-the-file nonsense bother him as soon as the first whistle was blown and the spectators had stowed away their white handkerchiefs.
And after he tried to set up Antoine Griezmann, who was tackled by Alvaro Tejero, Messi tapped his third place on the rebound
Barcelona demonstrated their combinations and could have gone further when Ivan Rakitic shot Marko Dmitrovic
Eibar had rejected a goal in every half, after Sergi Enrich’s header was eliminated from the cross from Cote after five minutes offside
He had not scored for four games, but in 40 minutes he had scored his third hat trick of the season and ended the game as a game.
First he narrowed his way past three Leganes defenders on the edge of the area after continuing to Ivan Rakitic’s pass.
Then he repeated the trick this time to the right of the pass of Sergi Busquets. And five minutes before the break, he scored again after trying to catch up with Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman failed to make the most of the gift assistant, but when the ball came back to Messi, he buried it.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu just smiled after the news that the club hires social media to promote his work
Some fans showed their opposition to the current president of Barcelona by waving white handkerchiefs before the game
Barcelona (4-1-2-1-2): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique (Umtiti 68), Lenglet, Firpo; Busquets (de Jong 59); Rakitic, Vidal; Arthur; Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 72)
Subs not used: Neto, Roberto, Akieme, Fati
goal scorers: Messi 14, 37, 40, 87, Arthur 89
Manager: Quique Setien
Eibar (4-2-3-1): Dmitrovic; Tejero, Burgos, Arbilla, Cote; Diop, Exposito; Orellana, Escalante, Inui (the Blasis 66); Enrich (Gonzalez Casin 66)
Subs not used: Sergio Alvarez, Oliveira, Yoel Rodriguez, Cristoforo, Pedro Leon
booked: Escalante, Diop
Manager: Jose Luis Mendilibar
Referee: Cesar Soto Grado
He might have added a fourth at the start of the second half, but saw his free kick just over the bar. He scored a fourth and this came from a Braithwaite assist.
The new striker came in at 72 minutes and cut his first cross-shot wide, but he soon found his feet. His pass was introduced by Messi for goal number four. And then, when his shot was only half saved by Marko Dmitrovic, it was turned in by Arthur.
He showed pace and power that withdrew from Eibar defenders and the Camp Nou seemed to warm him with every touch. His impact can also be a warning to Griezmann, who he has replaced and who has not been at his best.
This is a huge week on the pitch for Barcelona with Napoli and Real Madrid looming on the horizon. Braithwaite cannot play in the Champions League, but he might notice that he will play a major role in the Clasico next Sunday after he had already shown that he could make a link with Messi.
Quique Seitien said about his number 10: ‘He is extremely intelligent. He knows where to go to cause as much damage as possible to the opposition. “
Messi now has 18 goals and is well on his way to winning the top scorer in La Liga for the seventh time in his career.
Van Braithwaite added, “He has done much more than we expected.” I think he will adjust perfectly. He understands football and he is going to help us enormously. “
Martin Braithwaite made his debut in Barcelona and replaced Griezmann as a replacement for the second half
Both sides could have scored more goals in the second half before Braithwaite found Messi who picked up his fourth late
Arthur then added a damaging fifth one minute before the end of the regulation time with a finish on the piece