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Vitor Roque bears his claws at Alaves but Barcelona’s new hit man gets his wings clipped

A goal but a red card

Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Vitor Roque couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to a match - again.

For the second match in a row the Brazilian scored in the 63rd minute, and just like against Osasuna, the livewire striker found the net just after coming on, silencing Mendizorroza in the process.

It’ll take a while for the Brazilian to get up to speed with the nuances of Barça’s play, however, in recent games for his new club, his movement and sharpness have been spot on - as has his finishing.

He offers a different dynamic up front to both Robert Lewandowski and Marc Guiu and makes Xavi’s Barça much less predictable as a result.

As the hunt for points continues, surely any sort of advantage, however slender, needs to be considered?

Meaning if Vitor Roque is the man in form, and particularly if Xavi is genuine in his desire to fight for the title, then he must be played ahead of the other front men.

Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

It’s highly unlikely to happen of course, but there remains a cogent argument for Lewy to be left on the bench for some games with Vitor Roque taking his place.

Just because the Polish hit-man is the big name and the big draw, that’s no excuse to pick him week-in, week-out if he’s not doing the business.

There’s no room for sentiment for the Catalans at this point in time.

In the 13 minute cameo that Vitor Roque had on Saturday evening, he also managed to get himself booked twice, an unlucky red card ending his match early.

That will ensure that that the Brazilian will not play in the next game (unless an appeal is successful), and the harshness of the decision will have given the striker an early indication of the type of refereeing he can expect to encounter in La Liga.

To that end, he’ll need to work on certain aspects of his game to ensure that he stays on the right side of the officials rather than becoming a marked man.

Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Ion Alcoba Beitia/Getty Images

Another player whose night ended early was Ilkay Gundogan, the German succumbing to a knock that could present Xavi with a huge problem. Just as he is beginning to find his Man City form once again too.

The veteran has flattered to deceive for large parts of his Barcelona career to date, but his importance to the team recently isn’t in question.

A slightly more advanced role has allowed him to become the creator supreme that the Catalans thought they were buying.

Arguably the most intelligent player in the squad, the German could, quite easily, become Xavi’s talisman. That he hasn’t really been given the chance to be that is because he’s rarely done more than fight fires for this team.

An exquisite assist for Robert Lewandowski and a Van Basten-esque volley showed culers just how important Gundogan can be.

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