Messi, Suarez and Neymar all on target as Barcelona humiliate awful Alaves
Alaves suffered a Copa del Rey hangover on Saturday as they were thumped 6-0 by Barcelona at Mendizorroza. The Basque side reached a first ever domestic cup final in midweek -- securing a showdown with Luis Enrique's side in May -- but they were bumped back down to earth here in what they will hope doesn't prove to be a dress rehearsal for that final. As well as two goals for Luis Suarez and one each for Neymar, Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic, there was also an unfortunate own goal by Alexis Ruano.
Once they got their noses in front, Barcelona never needed to move out of first gear. In terms of preparing for Tuesday's Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain, then, it was almost perfect. There were also goals for each of the front three, while three more points keeps the pressure on Real Madrid -- which is all they can do at the moment.
Everything had gone to plan until the final five minutes, when a Theo Hernandez challenge left Aleix Vidal writhing in pain on the ground. He was eventually taken off on a stretcher with a nasty-looking ankle injury as Barca played out the last few minutes with 10 men having used all their substitutes.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Enrique had his hands tied in some respects with four players missing, but once again was able to rotate and win the game. That's something which wasn't always happening early on in the season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 -- Made one big save in the first half from Hernandez while it was still goalless. May have been a different game if the ball had gone in. Another good save from Ruben Sobrino followed after the break, but it was already 4-0 by then.
DF Aleix Vidal, 7 -- Set up the opening goal with a fine cross for Suarez and also played a part in the second goal with his pressure down the right. However, his recent return to form was halted in its tracks late on when he was forced off with what may prove a serious injury.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 6 -- In the absence of Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique, the French defender was tasked with leading an all-change back four. Will have had more difficult games.
DF Jeremy Mathieu, 6 -- No risks taken by Mathieu, who found himself paired with Umtiti before finishing the game alongside Lucas Digne in the middle of defence.
DF Lucas Digne, 6 -- Good last man challenge shortly before Messi scored Barca's third goal, which ultimately killed the game off. No other major contributions in an otherwise steady performance.
MF Sergio Busquets, 7 -- First start after returning from an ankle injury as a second-half substitute in the midweek game against Atletico Madrid. Provided the necessary experience and know-how in front of a rotated backline.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 7 -- Produced a stunning finish to make it 5-0 in the 65th minute. Until then it had been an industrious performance from the Croatian midfielder.
MF Andre Gomes, 6 -- After filling in for Busquets in midweek, he looked happier here back in a more advanced role. However, he still lets games pass him by and needs to play with more confidence and be a little more daring on the ball.
FW Lionel Messi, 8 -- Scored the third goal with a low finish across Fernando Pacheco, capitalising on some slack defending. Should have scored the fourth, too, but his slack touch meant it will go down as an own goal for Alexis. Now has 17 league goals this season.
FW Luis Suarez, 9 -- La Liga's top scorer scored his side's first and last goals here and was also involved in some part in the second, fourth and fifth goals. He now has 18 goals in the league this season.
FW Neymar, 7 -- The Brazilian scored the second goal, rolling home from close range after a rare mistake from Pacheco. His saved shot led to Suarez's second, too, and he was regularly involved in the play in and around the home side's box. Barca are better when they have his pace as an outlet.
MF Andres Iniesta, 6 -- Came on for Busquets with just under half an hour to go to get some more minutes in the tank after recovering from a calf injury. He's now well-placed to start against PSG.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 -- A surprise introduction for Umtiti, who may have been removed as a precaution, slotting in at left-back as Digne moved inside next to Mathieu to see out the final 25 minutes.
DF Sergi Roberto, N/R -- Replaced Gomes inside the final 20 minutes, but had little involvement in a game which had long since been tied up.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.