How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sergi Roberto

This is a repost of an article originally featured on our site last season by Sameer Riyaz about the potential rise of Sergi Roberto. It’s a very interesting read, especially in light of Roberto’s ascent to stardom this season. And also because Sameer is such a great writer. He concluded: “As things presently stand, the simple fact of the matter, unpalatable though it may be, is that Sergi Roberto’s future at the club is the brightest out of all La Masia prospects bar none.” How’s that for prescience? Enjoy the article!

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Review: Barcelona puts five past Sporting

Winning 5-0 on the road is cause for celebration enough, but doing it without Messi, Iniesta, or Rakitić after a hard-fought draw against Atlético midweek is a miracle of a manita.

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Match Gallery: Sporting de Gijón (Sept 24)

  • Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu (top) vies with Sporting Gijon's forward Victor during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA        (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Barcelona's French defender Jeremy Mathieu (top) vies with Sporting Gijon's forward Victor during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Neymar of FC Barcelona after scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Neymar of FC Barcelona after scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • Sporting Gijon's Venezuelan defender Fernando Amorebieta (L) vies with Andre Gomes during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA        (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Sporting Gijon's Venezuelan defender Fernando Amorebieta (L) vies with Andre Gomes during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • Sporting Gijon's Venezuelan defender Fernando Amorebieta (L) pushes Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA        (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Sporting Gijon's Venezuelan defender Fernando Amorebieta (L) pushes Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Rafinha of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates Arda Turan of FC Barcelona after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Rafinha of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates Arda Turan of FC Barcelona after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's midfielder Sergi Roberto (top) is tackled by Sporting Gijon's defender Alberto Lora during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA        (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Barcelona's midfielder Sergi Roberto (top) is tackled by Sporting Gijon's defender Alberto Lora during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos Junior (R) celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA        (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos Junior (R) celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Arda Turan of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Arda Turan of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Paco Alcacer of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Paco Alcacer of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Luis Enrique of FC Barcelona looks on prior to the start the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Luis Enrique of FC Barcelona looks on prior to the start the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Luis Enrique of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Luis Enrique of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Neymar of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Neymar of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Duje Cop of Real Sporting de Gijon during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Duje Cop of Real Sporting de Gijon during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Marc-Andre ter Stegen of FC Barcelona looks on prior to the start the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Marc-Andre ter Stegen of FC Barcelona looks on prior to the start the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Andre Gomes of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Duje Cop of Real Sporting de Gijon during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

    GIJON, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Andre Gomes of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Duje Cop of Real Sporting de Gijon during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and FC Barcelona at Estadio El Molinon on September 24, 2016 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

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  • Barcelona's midfielder Rafael Alcantara (C) celebrates a goal with teammates during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA        (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Barcelona's midfielder Rafael Alcantara (C) celebrates a goal with teammates during the Spanish league football match Real Sporting de Gijon vs FC Barcelona at El Molinon stadium in Gijon on September 24, 2016. / AFP / ANDER GILLENEA (Photo credit should read ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images)

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Exclusively for our totalBarça readers, here are some amazing pictures from the game vs. Sporting de Gijón!

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The Barça B Roundup: A hard-worked triumph

Gerard López´s Barcelona B seems to loving hard life. Nothing else can explain the reserves astonishing knack for getting themselves into trouble, only to stage great escapes just minutes later. This weekend’s match was just another link to the chain of great escapes. Against Mallorca B, a promoted side which had only picked up 4 points from a possible 15 prior to kick-off, Barcelona B could be forgiven to think that things would be sort of easier. The Blaugranas though, always love some drama: they had to fall behind, see the rival have a player send off, equalise and then take the lead, spurn dozens of chances to seal the win, concede an equaliser and then score a late goal to get three points.

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Player Ratings: Real Sporting de Gijón vs. FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona turned up the tempo after a late red card from Gijón and won round six of La Liga away five to nil. Early goals from Luis Suárez and Rafinha gave Barça a secure lead, but it wasn’t until Alberto Lora earned his second yellow that the match was truly put away. After the red, Neymar scored a brace flanked by a goal from Arda Turan in the 85th minute.

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Player Ratings: FC Barcelona vs. Club Atlético de Madrid

Round five of La Liga sees Spain’s first marquee matchup of the season as Barcelona ties Atlético one apiece. The encounter was a defensive one with Ivan Rakitić giving the blaugrana a lead just before the break with a header. Ángel Correa tied the match after a nice dribble and a Javier Mascherano slip.

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Can Barça’s attacking play be too fluid?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Barça under Luis Enrique, and especially how the current version compares to that magical 4-month period in the spring of 2015. Now, obviously, there is one simple answer – that team was just starting out, they had a point to prove and fresh legs. They steamrolled everyone in their way with a mixture of talent and relentless toughness. After two seasons of success and a mountain of games under those players’ legs, that lightning in a bottle is hard to replicate. Also there is the tricky matter of memory – a team even of just a year and a half ago will be idealized up against the 90-minute present of last Saturday. With those caveats in place, however, let’s explore.

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Should Atlético concern us?

The last three matches against Atlético Madrid have brought almost no fruit. A 2-1 win in the first leg of the UEFA Champions Quarter Final in Camp Nou (against a 10 man Atlético), a 0-2 loss at the Vicente Calderón in the second leg, and now a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. There are few sides, if any, that are capable of nullifying our team the way Atlético are. Then again, there are few sides, if any, that are capable of the defensive discipline Diego Simeone’s men are. When these two sides clash, it is a battle of Attack vs Defense. A true battle of opposites. So then, does this mean that Atlético indeed has figured us out, and if so, should we be concerned?

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Review: Two points lost or one point gained?

Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: Yes, dropping two points when we had the chance to gain ground on Real Madrid is a disappointment, without a shadow of a doubt. A quick look at the way Atletico scored makes you want to pull out your hair even more; a completely avoidable goal that was the result of a momentary lapse in concentration from two players (Pique and Mascherano) who were absolute beasts otherwise.

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Tactical Review: What We’ve Learned This Past Week

In the past seven days, a lot has happened. Exactly a week ago, Luis Enrique found himself licking a few early-season wounds from the loss to Deportivo Alavés. Eyebrows were raised as to whether Lucho had made the right decision in resting so many key players that weekend. A few weeks into the season, we can now start analyzing the intentions of most managers. On the surface level, anyone with a seasoned culé eye would have been able to see Lucho’s clear intention of rotating his players to utilize the benefits of economies of squad– That being that this time around, Lucho has arguably the best and most versatile squad in Europe. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons (in fact, to many blaugrana’s, the only reason) why our team fell apart in it’s only blemish last season in the loss to Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final, was down to fatigue. It only makes sense to rotate as much as possible, even to a fault (such as what was witnessed in the Alavés game), if it ensures that MSN and co are fully fit come April 2017. Other than this, Lucho has pulled a few rabbit’s out of the hat too.

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