opinions | 2017-01-15
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 18 - Barcelona 5:0 Las Palmas
The whole team stands out in a great collective performance
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Barely had anything to do throughout the whole game. Passing has been a lot more accurate than recent games. Las Palmas were poor in terms of attacking, I think it had to do with us being great rather than them being poor.
Aleix Vidal (8): Finally got his chance and he didn’t disappoint. Right side of the pitch was much more active in his presence and he worked well with Gomes and Messi. Started the move for the 1st goal with a great pass for Gomes, who assisted Suárez. Continued in the same tone in the 2nd half, defensively he didn’t have much to do as Las Palmas were quite poor going forward. Got awarded for his fantastic performance by scoring Barça’s 5th goal of the match after a great team move and Paco’s assist. Let’s hope we’ll see more of him in the upcoming weeks.
Javier Mascherano (6.5): Started as a RCB, usually he plays on the left side but had no problems dealing with Las Palmas, who were poor to say the least. Passing was great, especially his long passes, completed 11 out of 14 attempted. He did well when he was asked to, found himself on the right place at the right time. Picked up a yellow card deservedly early on which will make him miss the next game, but he had to foul as Barça lost possession in dangerous area. He moved to CDM position after Busquets was subbed off in the last 15 minutes of the match but the game was already done at that point. Good performance even though Las Palmas didn’t pose any threat.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5): Done well in the build up, not pressured as much as against Athletic last week. Defensively he’s been challenged once/twice all game and dealt with it really well. His interceptions have let us win the ball high up the pitch. Solid when called upon but on a whole not had much to do. Only misplaced three passes all game which isn’t much, less than he is used to since he does make risky passes at times. Comfortable game for the Frenchman, for me he should be our starting CB with Piqué.
Jordi Alba (6): Hasn’t been troubled defensively. Attacking wise he’s done well, dribbled a lot more than he usually does though he only completed two of the four dribbles he attempted. Passing was good, he was on the ball less than normal which in a sense is a good thing as our play doesn’t become too predictable. Rafinha and he did great with breaking play up when we lost possession high up the pitch. His overlapping runs and movement have been good but didn’t really cross much. In fact, he only made one cross into the box, on another day he usually manages 4+ crosses. Something that surprised me is that he won all his aerial duels, someone as short as him shouldn’t really be winning those. Quiet game for him but didn’t do anything bad as he is prone to doing.
Sergio Busquets (7): Wonderful performance, especially in the first half. Las Palmas didn’t press much and he had a lot of time on the ball, allowing him to do what his does the best. Created a chance for Gomes with a brilliant pass behind the defenders, but the Portuguese couldn’t finish it off. Las Palmas looked rather toothless so he didn’t have much to do defensively, but he did really well to press in their half of the pitch all game long which was great to see. Seemed to have regained his form in the last couple of weeks and he continued in the same tone. More of this will be needed in the rest of the season.
Andre Gomes (7.5): Done really well. Perhaps one of his best performances for Barcelona, I still feel his match away to Man City was better. Should’ve scored two, but he did assist our first goal which was great for his confidence. Passing was good but he could’ve got on the ball more for the 60 odd minutes he played. At times he was slow on the ball and got dispossessed but done really well to get it back. Completed all his defensive actions. He seems to fit the RCM spot really well compared to the LCM spot. Solid game from the Portuguese, let’s hope he can build on this for the coming games which will most likely prove to be more difficult than Las Palmas.
Rafinha (7): Started as a LCM and did well, especially in the 1st half. Received the ball in good positions and took risks going forward, combining well with Arda and Alba on the left. Passed the ball well, completed 93% of his attempted passes. He was dangerous inside the box, found himself in good positions to score and probably deserved it for his performance, but his finishing wasn’t the best. Recorded an assist in the 2nd half after Suárez did all the hard work with his brilliant finish, but nonetheless it still counts as an assist and he deserved something out of this game. Great work-rate defensively. Another good performance for the young Brazilian.
Lionel Messi (8.5): Wonderful from start to finish. His passing was sublime, Las Palmas couldn’t find the solution for his passes that often carved their defence wide open. Perhaps his finishing could’ve been better, missed an easy 1 vs. 1 chance but the GK did well, it has to be said. Combined well with Vidal on the right side, looked much better compared to when Sergi plays on that position. Finally got on the scoresheet in the 2nd half after Rafinha’s cross and a poor reaction from Las Palmas’ GK. Fantastic pass for Suárez in the buildup for Barça’s 4th goal. Another brilliant performance for the best player in the world.
Luis Suárez (8): The best striker in the world is getting back to his absolute best, and this performance was another proof of that. Great movement inside the box and a cool finish to make it 1-0 after a pass by Gomes. He was very involved in play, combined well with his teammates all game long, especially with Messi. Great work without the ball, applying pressure to Las Palmas defence. More of the same in the 2nd half, brilliant curled finish inside the box to make it 3-0. Las Palmas had no answer for his brilliant movement, Messi’s pass sent him in 1 vs. 1 chance but the shot went straight into GK, luckily Arda was there to score on the rebound. Got the well deserved rest after 70 minutes, and received a standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd.
Arda Turan (7.5): Wasn’t involved too much early on, he’s done well with the ball when he had it. Managed to create a couple of chances. At times he took too long on the ball but we weren’t punished for it. His pressing was wonderful, won the ball numerous times from Las Palmas defenders in their final third. Managed to get on the scoresheet but for me his involvement in the second and third goal was better than the goal he scored. His short passing was great, his long passing not so much. In typical Arda fashion, he carried on his streak by making an unnecessary foul. Though not involved constantly in the game, he did well. Nice to see him maintaining his solid performances when playing LW.
Ivan Rakitić: Replaced Gomes with around 25 mins of the match left to play. It was a quiet performance though, it must be said. Our RCM (both Gomes and Rakitić) didn’t get too much touches on the ball compared to the left sided players. His passing though was fine. It seems like he comes on to close the game out, it wasn’t needed in this game but the support shown from the fans was a nice touch. Perhaps this role is now best for him and could help us in the hardest part of the season.
Paco Alcacer: Replaced Suárez with 20 minutes left in the game and he didn’t look as isolated as in previous games he was given a chance. Assisted Vidal for his goal inside the box after a great team move. Good spot and weight of the pass on the assist. He had a great chance to score but it looked like he took an extra touch and Las Palmas defenders were quick to react. He should be finishing those chances because it would be a huge confidence booster for him, but at least he assisted for Aleix’s goal so he wasn’t useless in this game.
Jeremy Mathieu: Came on in the last 15 minutes of the match and it was good to see him back on the pitch after his problems with injuries. The game was already done at that point and Las Planas didn’t look dangerous so there isn’t much to say, but he passed the ball well and wasn’t troubled at the back. Let’s hope he can stay fit for the rest of the season.
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WRITTEN BY: Josip
23 years old, born in Split, Croatia. Football fanatic and a die-hard Barça fan. Currently studying tourism and communication.
WRITTEN BY: Sulaiman
Sulaiman is a Barcelona fan since 2005. He loves discussing anything related to the club. Sulaiman is currently studying Accounting and Finance and has a keen interest in Statistics.