opinions | 2017-01-20
Player Ratings - Spanish Cup Quarterfinals - Real Sociedad 0:1 Barcelona
Anoeta finally falls as Barça wins at Real Sociedad's home for the first time in ten years
Jasper Cillessen (6): Passing has been hit and miss due to Real Sociedad’s good pressing. As the game went on it became more consistent it must be said. Real Sociedad failed to force him into a save all game. Quiet game for the Dutchman but he can take a lot of credit in keeping a clean sheet somewhere we have failed to win in 10 years.
Sergi Roberto (5.5): Not too good once again. With him and Rakitić on the right side, Barça didn’t look dangerous on that side going forward and Real Sociedad often tried to attack down this side so he had a lot to do defensively. Mikel gave him trouble and although he managed to keep it under control for some periods of the game, he never looked quite comfortable. Passing and crossing could’ve been better, barely created anything going forward. He’s been below par for quote some time now, the lack of competition doesn’t help even though Vidal has shown he deserves more minutes. Let’s hope he can get better soon.
Gerard Piqué (7): Great performance yet again for Barça’s leader at the back. Real Sociedad didn’t create much but he was always aware of the danger and did well when he needed to intervene. His CB partnership with Umtiti looks wonderful and this game was the best example, hopefully we’ll be seeing this a lot in the future. Passing has been good as per usual, good under pressure when Real Sociedad pressed high up the pitch. He’s been wonderful this season, Barça will need him to stay on this level for the rest of the season.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5): Closed down a lot by the Real Sociedad players, early on he had trouble dealing with their press but not too much later on as the game went on. His interceptions were really good as we’ve been accustomed to. In the second half, he was taken out from a corner. I have no idea why he is always targeted by opposition attackers. His adaptation has come a long way. The only goal we scored came from a Umtiti pass which Suarez dummied and Neymar did the rest. It was a really good pass it must be said. His interceptions and vertical passing impresses me every game he plays. Nice to see him progressing and becoming better by the day.
Lucas Digne (6.5): Defensively he’s done really well. Real Sociedad really put the pressure on him, it must be said. In the final third of the pitch he wasn’t too good, though he didn’t get into many good crossing positions and didn’t push up too much but when he did, he wasted the chance. The Frenchman pressing was good as well as getting back into position which was a concern against Villarreal the other week. His break up was really good. For me this was his best performance for Barcelona in terms of his defensive performance. Nice to see that he can get stuck in when needed. Happy with the Frenchman game at Anoeta compared to la Cerámica.
Sergio Busquets (7.5): Easily one of the best players on the pitch, if not the best. His quick thinking and decision making under pressure were on full display in this match as Real Sociedad pressed high and he always chose the right decision on the ball. Hardly put a foot wrong, great passing and distribution and combined well with his teammates, especially with Iniesta in the first half. Wonderful defensively as well, won most of his duels with Real Sociedad’s midfielders and had a few crucial tackles and interceptions. Great form at the moment, which is great to see after a bad start to this season.
Ivan Rakitić (5.5): Got back into the starting line-up, but not much has changed in this match. Barely contributed anything in the buildup which was frustrating, especially with Sergi on the right side. Passing has been average, didn’t receive the ball in good positions and often chose the bad decision under pressure. His biggest quality as usual was his defensive work rate. He helped Sergi a lot defensively, as Real Sociedad were quite active on that side of the pitch. Subbed off after 70 minutes.
Andres Iniesta (6): Comfortable on the ball and solid defensively when called upon which was quite a few times especially early into the game. Real Sociedad’s pressing wasn’t as good as Athletic’s one/two weeks ago so he wasn’t getting into many sticky situations. His long switch pass to Sergi Roberto has been wonderful and worked everytime he has tried it. His ball retention has got us out of plenty of bad situations when we didn’t have control of the game. His first half was really good but he had to be subbed off at half time with some calf discomfort. Let’s hope it is nothing serious.
Lionel Messi (6.5): Good at the start of the match, got involved from the first minute and combined well with his teammates, especially Neymar. Dribbled past Real Sociedad’s players with ease early on to make the difference. He had to drop deep often, as Barça struggled to gain control in midfield in this game. His work rate defensively looked good, which was nice to see. As the game went on, it looked like his influence slightly dropped, as if he was saving himself in some parts of the match after Barça were 1-0 up. Picked up an unnecessary yellow card in the first half and in the second half he was close to getting sent off, which luckily never happened. Let’s hope he’ll be back to his best in the next game.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Looked very isolated up front, as Barça struggled to gain control in the middle of the pitch and create chances. Didn’t take a single shot on goal, which perfectly shows what kind of a match this was for him. Looked to get involved early on but his decision making on the ball was poor and he could’ve done much better in a few occasions when Barça were on the counter. In the second half, it looked like he wasn’t even on the pitch, barely touched the ball at all. Frustrating game for him.
Neymar (7): One of our best performers. Defensively he was superb, helped a lot especially early in the game when we struggled. His passing was on and off, as the game went on he started to lose the ball more but not in dangerous positions. Dribbling was direct which wasn’t the case last year. The work on the penalty was great, his quick feet were too quick for the Real Sociedad defender. Before the penalty he had a chance to open the scoring, did everything right except passing instead of taking a shot. 2016 Neymar seems to be a long distant memory but the second half shows that he can still improve by performing for 90 minutes rather than 60 minutes.
Andre Gomes (7): Subbed on at half time for Iniesta who had some discomfort. He carried on from what he did against Las Palmas, wonderful on the ball. His ball carrying was very good, not as good as Iniesta’s of course but it was nearly as effective. Under pressure he did just as good, most notable when he was getting closed by a Real Sociedad’s player and he flicked the ball past him to start a counter, sadly his pass on the same play wasn’t too good. Defensively he did good but because he misplaced some passes he had to do extra defensive work. As the second half went on, his influence started decreasing but we did also lost control of the game at the times he wasn’t as influential. Good performance from for him in a very hard stadium. Though I feel he is more suited to RCM, he put a great shift in at LCM. His adaptation is coming along nicely.
Denis Suárez: Replaced Rakitić in the last 20 minutes of the game. He didn’t contribute much going forward, attempted just 9 passes but looked more promising on the ball than Rakitić was. Drifted wide quite often as Messi positioned himself more centrally. He worked well defensively after coming on, as Barça were trying to defend their lead. I’d love to see him get more minutes in the rest of the season, didn’t play a lot as of late.
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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.