Barcelona ended their four match winless run in La Liga with an emphatic 4-2 win over Sevilla at the Nou Camp.
The home side got off to a lightning quick start after some classy build up play from the Catalans set up Philippe Coutinho, who bent his effort into the top corner in superb fashion to give Barcelona the lead. Their advantage was soon doubled after Lionel Messi was set through on goal by Luis Suarez, with the Argentine slotting the ball past Tomas Vaclik in the Sevilla goal.
The home fans were then given a reason to be concerned when Messi went down under a hefty challenge - seemingly landing awkwardly on his arm - and was forced off just shy of the hour mark with his arm heavily wrapped up, with the injury dampening the mood around the stadium.
Barcelona began the second period soaking up some Sevilla pressure, however the home side took full control after Suarez was brought down in the box by the keeper, and duly sent him the wrong way with the resulting penalty to give his side a 3-0 lead.
Despite a late Pablo Sanabria consolation goal for the visitors, Ivan Rakitic got in on the act with a fine volley which found the bottom corner to seal the win, which meant Luis Muriel's fine strike for Sevilla to make it 4-2 soon afterwards counted for nothing. Here is a breakdown of the night's events:
Key Talking Point
Barcelona got their first win in five games, however the key talking point from the game was that of Messi's injury. Just five minutes after putting his side 2-0 up with a trademark Messi finish, the Argentine landed awkwardly on his arm following a challenge with Franco Vazquez and was visibly in a lot of pain.
Lionel Messi is forced off with an apparent arm injury.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 20, 2018
Not what Barcelona fans want to see ahead of Wednesday's clash with Inter and the upcoming Clásico ... pic.twitter.com/Xm9WUUN0Vd
Messi came back on and tried to continue, however just minutes later was forced off with the pain seemingly too much and with his arm heavily wrapped up.
It was a sight Barcelona fans would've been dreading, and the attention now turns to their huge clash with Real Madrid on Sunday and whether or not Messi will be fit enough to play with the extent to his injury yet to be revealed.
Starting XI: ter Stegen (8); Semedo (7), Pique (8), Lengley (7), Alba (7); Rakitic (7), Busquets (6), Arthur (7); Messi (8), Suarez (9), Coutinho (8).
Substitutes: Dembele (7), Roberto (6), Munir (6).
3-0 beautiful skill from Luis Suarez https://t.co/6MEQlKEmhV— Willie Andres (@WillieFlako_03) October 20, 2018
Exacte! Luis Suarez!— Àlex Delmàs (@alexdelmas10) October 20, 2018
STAR MAN - After Messi was taken off injured, it was Suarez who took centre stage. He set up his side's second goal and then won Barcelona a valuable penalty after soaking up a period of pressure. He stepped up and duly slotted home to get himself on the scoresheet.
He was the focal point of the Catalan's attacking play and would even arguably be annoyed at himself for not getting more goals on the night. Regardless, it was all in all a good night at the office for the Uruguayan.
WORST PLAYER - He didn't necessarily have a bad game however on a night where many players shone, Sergio Busquets never really made an impact on the game. He quietly went about his business as he usually does, keeping possession and giving the ball to Barca's playmakers when needed.
It says a lot about how well Barcelona played if Busquets was their worst player on the night, and he certainly won't be disheartened by his performance on the night.
Key Talking Point
Sevilla came into the game having won all of their last four La Liga games - including an impressive 3-0 win over Real Madrid - and would've been confident of causing an upset heading into the game. However, any hopes of pulling that off were ended very early in the game.
They found themselves 2-0 down after just 12 minutes and despite creating a number of chances throughout the game whilst also salvaging two goals back, they'd ultimately left themselves too much to do as Barca ran out comfortable winners on the night.
Sevilla have now dropped down a place to third in La Liga and will need to put the result behind them as they look to keep the pressure up on those teams around them despite the disappointing result.
Starting XI: Vaclik (5); Kjaer (6), Carrico (5), Gomez (5); Navas (6), Banega (6), Vazquez (6), Arana (6); Sarabia (7), Silva (7), Ben Yedder (6).
Substitutes: Mercado (6), Mesa (6), Muriel (7).
STAR MAN - Although the scoreline doesn't read pleasant viewing for the Sevilla faithful, they were still able to create a number of chances throughout the game, with many of those coming from Andre Silva.
André Silva giving sense to every Sevilla transition. Adds intent to each action. Whether that be his hold-up play, circulation in limited touches, creating, dropping to wing, and especially between the lines.— Aldo Sainati (@aldosainati) October 20, 2018
André Silva!!— Momade (@MomadeMotii) October 20, 2018
He would've felt unlucky not to score, and had it not been for an in form Marc-Andre ter Stegen may well have found himself on the scoresheet. He can take at least some heart from a night which Sevilla fans will want to forget.
WORST PLAYER - It was a night to forget for Daniel Carrico who just couldn't handle Barcelona's attacking threat. In fairness to him, he isn't the first and certainly won't be the last defender to feel the wrath of Barca's star-studded attacking lineup this season, however he never looked comfortable dealing with them.
None of the Sevilla defenders covered themselves in glory on the night, however Carrico in particular will be disappointed with his display having been on such good form heading into the game.
Barcelona leapfrogged Sevilla with the win and have therefore jumped to the top of La Liga with the win, which will provided them with a lot of confidence heading into their clash with Inter in the Champions League before the biggest match on the La Liga calendar when they face a struggling Real Madrid side at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
|￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣|— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 20, 2018
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As for Sevilla they failed to win for just the second time in their last seven matches in all competitions, and will therefore look to bounce back with a win when they face La Liga's bottom side SD Huesca on Sunday.