opinions | 2017-02-20
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 23 - Barcelona 2:1 Leganés
Messi saves the day with a last minute penalty in a match to forget
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7.5): Came up with a couple of clutch saves to keep us ahead at HT especially the deflected shot at the end of the half and he reacted wonderfully to it. Passing for the most part was good. It would be harsh to say his ball to Sergi Roberto was a reason for us conceding. Sweeped up for the lapses of concentration from the defence. Without him, we would’ve lost the game. He has been one of our best performers for some weeks. It isn’t a good sign when he is among the best players this frequent.
Sergi Roberto (4): Yet another awful performance. Barely offered anything going forward, passed the ball well but most of it were safe passes. Hasn’t attempted a single cross all game, says it all about his contribution going forward. Defensively, he didn’t look the best, Syzmanovski caused him a lot of problems. Crucial mistake leading to Leganes’ equaliser, got dispossessed way too easily. Needs to start performing as soon as possible because things don’t look good for Barça on that position with Vidal out injured.
Samuel Umtiti (6): The highlight of his performance was passing. Attempted 127 passes and completed 98% of them. The highest number by any defender in the league so far this season. Defensively, it wasn’t his best game. Looked shaky at times on that right side of the defence, and positioning wasn’t always the best. However, he did complete a couple of important clearances and interceptions. The Frenchman has had the better games than this, but jim playing on the right side didn’t help.
Jeremy Mathieu (6): Solid game again. Pulled off an amazing last ditch tackle which most certainly would’ve been a goal, he got put in the same situation again and the Leganes player went down. On another day it could’ve easily been a sending off even though there was no contact. Defended well, winning five of his six defensive actions but not had too much to do honestly. Passing was good, bar the odd misplaced pass here and there. Not much else to say, did his job efficiently.
Lucas Digne (6): Bar that play when he let El Zhar through, he played pretty decent. Passing was very good today until he reached the final third of the pitch. 0 crosses completed as expected. Tracked back unlike other games when he needed Neymar to help him out. Held his ground against the Leganes defender unlike other games where he has shown he wasn’t capable. He was subbed off when we were chasing a winner. The sub would’ve made some sense if we brought on Paco on or even Piqué and switch to a back 3 but like for like?
André Gomes (5): Anonymous display from the Portuguese yet again. Didn’t offer much in the build-up and misplaced some easy passes early on which instantly made the crowd turn against him. Throughout the entire game he only had 1 or 2 dangerous forward passes and the midfield looked disjointed once again. Not too much involved defensively, looked slow at times. He was subbed off and got whistled by the Camp Nou crowd which I personally think he didn’t deserve because there are bigger issues within the team at the moment and it’s not just him.
Ivan Rakitić (5): More of the same from the Croatian international. Poor on the ball and positioned too wide, so the midfield looked disjointed and Barça struggled to create real chances in this game. Passing wasn’t the best and decision making was very poor. At times he really looked like he lost all of his confidence on the ball, had a couple of solid chances to shoot from the edge of the box but he did poorly, and that’s what he does well usually. Did well to cover for Sergi defensively, solid without the ball but the old issues remain.
Rafinha (6.5): One of our better players. On the first goal he did really good, the pass to set Suàrez free was perfectly weighted. Got on the ball a fair amount and linked up with Messi and Neymar pretty well, from this he created 2 chances. Though he played at LCM which he isn’t use to, he always offered himself as an outlet. Although he only won two of his four tackles he did get back and help as much as he could. Replaced by Denis as we looked to get a winner. He should honestly be playing instead of Rakitić and Denis should be the sub for Iniesta, this way we can get the best from both of these players.
Lionel Messi (7): Great start to the game, easy tap-in after a great movement inside the box and a nice assist by Suárez. Dropped deep and positioned centrally, managed to create a couple of decent chances for his teammates although passing wasn’t up to the usual level we’re used to seeing from him. Looked tired, he struggled dribbling past Leganes players at times and didn’t look fresh throughout the game even though he was behind most of the things Barça managed to create. Converted a penalty to win the game for his team after Neymar was fouled inside the box. Looked very frustrated with team’s performance at the end of the game.
Luis Suárez (6.5): Very involved in the 1st half, avoided the offside trap with a great movement and assisted Messi for the 1st goal early on in the game. Continued in the same tone after that and he was solid in bringing his teammates, especially Messi, into play but he didn’t get into chances to score himself. Less involved as the game went on and he often looked isolated in the 2nd half. Once again had 0 shots on goal which is a worrying sign for the team in general, but nonetheless, he helped the team pick up the 3 points in this match.
Neymar (6.5): The Brazilian saw a lot of the ball but he was rather average bar the odd glimpse here and there. Once again he was dreadful when it came down to finishing chances presented for him. With all the ball he had, 1 created chance is a pretty low return. 12 attempted take ons but only 7 completed, it shows he took risks when he got the ball and this led to the very late penalty which he deserves praise for. Tracked back when needed and got stuck in since Leganes found it pretty easy to get through our midfield. Played well at times and poor at other times, he really needs to work on his finishing, it’s been poor for too long. The other aspects of his game are good however.
Andres Iniesta: Replaced Gomes in the last 10 minutes, his 400th La Liga match. There’s not much to say about his performance, he was brought on with the team chasing the 2nd goal. Only completed 9 passes but other than that there is nothing to say. Let’s hope he will be able to start in the game against Atletico next week.
Denis Suarez: Replaced Rafinha with 10 minutes to go, he didn’t see too much of the ball but for me he should’ve been starting alongside Rafinha as Rakitić is of no help against teams that sit deep. Played the odd pass and made 1 clearance. Not much to say but we need to see him get more game time especially over Rakitić and André who I’m fond of but is having a stinker as of late.
Jordi Alba: Came on for Digne with less than 10 minutes to go. A useless sub by Lucho, we’ve seen this sub before when we are desperate. Still he managed to misplace 2 passes. Like for like sub in defence when we need to win make no sense. I do wonder why was Alcacer even bought when he isn’t used when we need him.
Referee Ignacio Villanueva (6): Solid game, no major mistakes. Perhaps the yellow card for Suárez was a bit harsh but he was quite consistent with his decisions and bookings. Awarded a penalty near the end after Neymar was brought down inside the box. Perhaps the Brazilian went down easily but the contact was definitely there and it looked like the right call.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
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.