Talking points from the 3-1 win at Sporting Gijón

Ivan Rakitic in action against Sporting Gijón on Wednesday / FCB
A look at some of the main issues from a fascinating encounter at El Molinón on Wednesday

Yet more records, Luis Suárez’s goalscoring, the chance to catch up with a player out on loan and another missed penalty are among the subjects that have got tongues wagging after a lively night in Asturias.

Suárez leads Europe

By notching up his 24th league goal on Wednesday, Luis Suarez tied with Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli at the top of the European Golden Shoe ranking. He’s also the first player in La Liga to reach double figures for both goals and assists after supplying the pass for Lionel Messi‘s second today.

And some may not have spotted it, but there was also a fine display of fair play from the Uruguayan towards the end of the first half. After clattering into Ivan Cuéllar, he thoughtfully paused mid-play to help the Sporting keeper back to his feet.

Another night for records

Until somebody gets the better of Luis Enrique’s team, every game will continue to be another record-breaker. The unbeaten streak has now been stretched to 31 games. This was the first of a run of five out of six on the road for Barça, and getting through that unscathed won’t be easy, but with the team on such emphatic form, anything is possible!

And on the subject of records, Messi has bagged yet another by becoming the first player to score 300 career goals in La Liga. And just for good measure, he popped in goal 301 as well!

Not quite spot on

It’s almost impossible to find any fault in Barça these days, but the team’s penalty conversion rate is surprisingly weak. Ivan Cuéllar saved Suárez’s spot kick at El Molinón, and that’s just eight out of sixteen scored this season (although that does include Messi’s famous penalty-pass on Saturday, which doesn’t really count!).

But it’s not an issue that seems to bother Luis Enrique or any of the players, who prefer to see it as a curious anecdote and nothing more.

Safety in numbers

Luis Enrique could afford to leave the likes of Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba at home, while Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves were on the bench. And Javier Mascherano only came on in the second half.

Yet the absence of world class players like those was not even noticed. The depth of the current Barça squad is simply staggering!

Hello to Halilovic

Arguably the finest Sporting player of the day was striker Alen Halilovic, out on loan from the Catalan club. “Barcelona win well and play well” he said after the game. “After today, I can’t see them letting the league title slip away. But we ran hard today and for almost seventy minutes we can say that we took on Barcelona face to face.”

The 19 year old was especially pleased to meet up with his good friend Ivan Rakitic. “He asked me how I am and I said I’m really happy here in Gijón” he said, while also admitting that they knew winning today was going to a very big ask, and that the game with Betis on Saturday is the one they are really focusing on.