opinions | 2017-01-27
Player Ratings - Spanish Cup Quarterfinals - Barcelona 5:2 Real Sociedad
Denis and Messi the top performers as Barça reaches the Spanish Cup semifinals
Jasper Cillessen (7): Solid for the most part, in terms of saving he has had next to nothing to do but this changed somewhat in the 2nd half where he was called into action more. On the first Real Sociedad goal, he should’ve done far better. He came off his line and then didn’t follow through. This gifted Juanmi a goal. On the 2nd goal, not much could’ve been done. It was all around poor defending. His distribution has been very very good. Of course the odd ball gets misplaced but he has been very consistent with his passing. One of his fine saves in the second half, created the penalty for Messi. It was a wonderful save from point blank. Good game from the Dutchman but there areas for improvement.
Sergi Roberto (5.5): Solid performance defensively, even though he only played for 45 minutes. Real Sociedad didn’t really pose much threat and he did well for the most part against Mikel and Zurutuza on that side. Going forward, it wasn’t great, something we’re used to seeing from him. Not too good in the last third of the pitch and he didn’t look dangerous on the ball or make dangerous runs in behind. He’ll have to improve in that aspect because Vidal has shown he can offer more. Picked up a knock in the 1st half and it seemed like he was subbed off at half time due to precaution. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
Gerard Piqué (6.5): Got back into line-up after he was rested against Eibar and did well for the most part. Passing has been great as per usual, even though Barça didn’t control the game through possession, especially in the 1st half. Completed 7 out of 8 long passes he attempted. Defensively, it was a solid performance and he did well when he needed to intervene. Not much he could do in any of the goals, even though it looked like there was a confusion between him and Umtiti on the 2nd goal. Real Sociedad’s striker got in between them, but the French defender was more to blame as he missed the header. It was good to see him back after he missed the last Liga game, Barça will need him at his best for the rest of the season.
Samuel Umtiti (6): Mixed game for him. Misplaced a few passes but they did not lead to anything bad. In build up he’s been solid. Mistimed a few headers which he needs to work on in the future but he’s young so there is time. On the first goal, he won the ball back with a great interception, perhaps it could’ve been called a foul which I thought at first but he did get the ball. He also made an interception which led to the third goal. In this aspect, he is so good. Nothing he could do on the first goal but on the second goal RSoc scored, he could’ve done better. William Jose got in between him and Piqué, and he also missed his header. Some things he did well, but other things he can improve on. He’s come a long way since moving in the summer. One off game is bound to happen.
Jordi Alba (5.5): Bar preventing RSoc from going 1-0 up early on and another last ditch challenge which was just before the great save from Jasper, he was dreadful. Lost the ball far too easily, RSoc were not even pressing amazingly compared to what have done at Anoeta. Decision making was atrocious, if it was better I’m sure we could’ve had one maybe two more goals. His link up with Neymar has been ok but not up to the usual standard. He got beat down the left side fairly easily though he is normally decent at defending attackers coming down the line. Oddly enough, he is weaker at defending when attackers come on the inside of him yet he managed to deal with that effectively. Not the best game for him, perhaps it is time to give Digne a run around for a couple of games to make Jordi work harder for his place.
Javier Mascherano (6): Started as a CDM in Busquets’ absence and did well defensively. Fantastic without the ball in the first half, seemed to always find himself on the right place at the right time. On the ball, he doesn’t offer as much as Busquets in midfield but his long passes have been great in this game, completed 6 out of 7. Later on, it looked like he started losing focus. On the first Real Sociedad goal, he lost his man quite easily and Juanmi was quick to punish for the mistake. But to be fair to him, Cillessen should’ve done better as well. Soon after that, he was subbed off. I’d rather see Gomes or Rakitić start in that position in Busquets’ absence, but the Argentine was solid in this match.
Denis Suárez (7.5): Just like in the game against Eibar, he started a bit slowly and it took some time for him to get going. Misplaced a couple of easy passes early on. As soon as he found his rhythm, he looked great and combined well with his teammates, especially Messi on the right. Great finish to make it 1-0 after a quick counter attack. Scored an opening goal for Barça for 2nd match in a row. Drifted wide quite often and positioned himself well, always a threat for Real Sociedad. Worked well defensively, which was great to see. Scored another one in the 2nd half after a great assist by Messi. It looks like he can become that goalscoring threat Barça needs besides MSN. Great performance yet again, he’s used his chances well so far this season. I really hope he’ll keep getting more minutes because he can offer more on the ball than Rakitić or Gomes at the moment.
André Gomes (5): Not a great game from him at all, he was pretty slow on the ball. Normally a Barca left interior (LCM) takes quite a fair few risks but he was the opposite which isn’t good at all. Passing wasn’t bad but he did misplace some easy passes. Him being slow on the ball and not making decisions quick enough was a recipe for a bad game, this was the case. Defensively done well when we have been under pressure. He as well as Jasper played a big part in the first goal we conceded, honestly he should’ve got to the ball with relative ease. Needs to put this game behind him and move on, barely one positive he can take. Using him as a utility player isn’t getting the best out of him either, it must be said.
Lionel Messi (7.5): Started off slowly, it often looked like he was saving himself during the 1st half. He had to drop deep as Barça struggled to dominate in midfield. The real show started in the 2nd half. Neymar won the penalty and the Argentine converted it to make it 2-0. Soon after that, he assisted Luis Suárez, who made it 3-1. Looked much more lively in the 2nd half, as if he decided to end the game himself. Wonderful on the ball, dribbled past Real Sociedad’s players with ease. Picked up another brilliant assist after he dribbled past few players and put it on a plate for Denis. It was nice to see his teammates not wasting his passes in this match, it happened quite a lot this season. Slow start, but he looked unplayable in the 2nd half, brilliant performance yet again.
Luis Suárez (7): Eventful match for the Uruguayan striker. Wonderful first touch to lay it off for Denis, who made it 1-0 early on. His work rate without the ball has been brilliant, a nightmare for Real Sociedad’s defenders. He didn’t find himself in many chances in this match, but he didn’t look isolated like earlier this season. Looked a bit nervous and to be fair, he was lucky not to get sent off in the 2nd half after he elbowed a Real Sociedad player without the ball. He really needs to learn to control himself at times and things like this shouldn’t be happening. Great finish after Messi’s pass to make it 3-1. That was his only shot on target in this match. He’s looked great in the last month or so after a slow start to this season.
Neymar (6.5): Mixed game for the Brazilian. Going back he was very solid which has been a theme this year. On the ball he has been decent but also bad at times. According to the graphic during the game, he lost the possession more than ten times. This is something we’d expect from Neymar of 2016. He did well on the first goal as he played Suárez in on the goal who laid the ball off to Denis. Passing was good at times but also bad as lost possession far too easily. The work he did to win the penalty was wonderful, we’ve seen this quite a few times this season. Subbed off with 15 odd minutes left for Arda. Good performance at times but other times he wasn’t good at all. Regardless of this, the signs are positive for him this year unlike last year.
Aleix Vidal (6.5): Replaced Sergi Roberto at the start of the 2nd half. He looked more dangerous going forward than Sergi and spent more time in the Real Sociedad’s half of the pitch. Passing has been good, combined well with Denis and Messi. Defensively he was good, but he wasn’t tested much in this match in all fairness. Picked up an assist yet again in this match, after a good team move and Arda’s finish. That’s 4 assist and a goal in his last 5 games in a Barça shirt. He should be getting more minutes soon because he’s done great whenever he was given a chance lately.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Subbed on for Mascherano in 66th minute. Played as a CDM yet again after his solid performance against Eibar, but the game was basically done before he came on so there’s not much to say. Only attempted 9 passes and completed 7 of those. Solid defensively, something we can always count on when it comes to him. Not sure how satisfied he is with sitting on the bench and playing in a CDM position but he can help the team in this role as well, not just as a starter. Here’s hoping we’ll see him at his best for the rest of the season.
Arda Turan: Came on with 15 minutes left, replacing Neymar. In this time he managed to get a goal which he seems to get a lot of these days compared to last season. He didn’t do too much else really but surprisingly he didn’t get his customary foul he does every game. He’s got something for those late runs to the back post for a tap in. At least he has put his talent towards something which we didn’t see much of last 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.