opinions | 2016-11-02
Rating the Barça players after the match vs Manchester City
A bright start amounted to nothing as City's pressing collapsed Barça in the latter half
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6.5): Played well for large parts of the game as his distribution was wonderful bar a few lapses in the second half, it got us out of many situations when City pressed high. This went unnoticed by people criticising him. On the first goal he couldn’t do much about it and on the second goal there are doubts whether he could’ve done better. In a sense he could for sure by not being too central but it is hard to anticipate that type of free kick and even harder to react when your sight of the ball is blocked off.
Sergi Roberto (4): Probably his worst performance since moving to the right back position. Even before the big mistake that led to City’s first goal, he didn’t look comfortable out there. Passing was hot and cold, and defensively he couldn’t cope with City’s pressing, often forced into mistakes. Right after his mistake that led to a goal, he made a similar one that almost led to another City goal. Those mistakes made him even more uncomfortable and it really was a bad day at the office.
Javier Mascherano (6): Started great early on, did well to stop a couple of City counter attacks in the first half including his brilliant reaction at the back that started the counter attack for Barça’s goal. As the game went on, City’s pressing caused some individual mistakes and Barça’s defence was left vulnerable for the majority of the second half. On City’s third goal he could’ve done a better job covering Agüero running from behind.
Samuel Umtiti (7.5): A good performance but has had better ones and lucky to not give a away a penalty. Passing was great for the most part but when City stepped up the pressure he started misplacing a few. Lucho smartly shifted him to the right side which is not his natural position in order to make it harder for City to press and it showed for the first 40 minutes. His interceptions and anticipation were great. It was hard to find much fault in his defensive work. Positioning was an area he had to improve on and he sure has especially when we try build from the back.
Lucas Digne (5.5): Not the best of game for the Frenchman, going forward and linking with Neymar and Gomes he has been great in early on and created a lot of space for Neymar to attack Otamendi. However, this changed in the second half. Defensively he was the opposite, with Sterling getting the best of him most of the time. He was lucky not to get booked early on and was always isolated with Mascherano not giving him too much cover. Not one of his best games, he is still adapting as he stated in an interview earlier this week but he has to improve in one on one situations to make up for his lack of pace.
Sergio Busquets (5): Another questionable performance. First half was great for the most part, Barça were able to deal with City’s pressing and he was good defensively. The problems started later on when the team collapsed as a whole and he had to drop deep to pick up the ball, often not having any options as our midfielders were too far as City did well to press him and force him into mistakes. The first one came right at the start of the second half when he got dispossessed in a dangerous area, but Sterling missed a sitter. The rest of the match was very frustrating for him, often being late for the challenges and committing fouls.
Ivan Rakitić (5.5): Didn’t have much impact today. Usually he shines defensively, without the ball, but he picked up a yellow card quite early meaning he had to be more careful with his challenges and he didn’t play to his usual level. He didn’t misplace many passes but Barça struggled to gain control in the midfield area for the most part and he didn’t do too well in possession especially later on in the game when he often found himself far away from Busquets to start the attack. Subbed off for Arda in the 61st minute.
Andre Gomes (7): His best match for Barcelona, his runs were unplayable and City had no answer to it. It led to so many chances and he should’ve had a goal today, missed a great chance. His positioning was suspect at times which had a knock on effect on Digne who ended up isolated but he did defend well for the most part. In the second half, Neymar tried playing his own role and Gomes’ role which left him lost at time. This caused Busquets to get isolated as he drifted wide to allow Neymar space. It all collapsed from here, we were overrun and he couldn’t offer any control. Rafinha replaced the Portuguese with 15 minutes left. Many won’t agree but I was impressed by him for the most part.
Lionel Messi (6): Very involved early on in the game, he was on the ball often and Barça looked dangerous. Fantastic pass to Neymar to start the counter attack, and finished it off elegantly after Neymar passed it back to him. He didn’t just stick to the right win today, moved a lot in the first half, occupied the middle of the pitch and helped defensively as well. The second half was just the complete opposite, he barely saw the ball which wasn’t his mistake as Barça’s midfield struggled to get the ball up the pitch with City pressing high. I could barely remember any detail of him being active in the second half which was weird to see after a great first half today.
Luis Suárez (5): Just like in the last match against Granada, he didn’t do much. Early on he often drifted to wide positions with Messi moving to the middle but he never managed to get into chances to score. The closest he came to scoring was after the ball came to him in the box in the first half and he took a good shot but straight into one of City’s defenders. Second half was even more frustrating as Barça struggled to control the game and he didn’t receive many passes. His passing and decision making was a bit off but he did create a clear chance for Gomes after nutmegging Otamendi, that was the highlight today. A game to forget.
Neymar (5): A game of two halves today. He could’ve wrapped the game up in the first but awful decision making and trying to overplay allowed City to stay in the game rather than it being over. Movement was wonderful, as Otamendi and Zabaleta couldn’t cope early on. Dribbling was hot and cold, on the goal when he bagged an assist, it was great. His forward passing was horrific, only managed to complete 8 of 19 forward passes. The second half was the total opposite of what he showed early on, as Zabaleta had no problem dealing with him. He dropped deeper to get more involved but didn’t make anything happen, he started holding onto the ball for too long. Dropping deeper affected our midfield badly, leaving André rather confused. City took advantage and punished us.
Arda Turan (5): Subbed on for Rakitić in the last 30 minutes of the game but he didn’t manage to change much and Barça continued to struggle in the midfield area. He moved a lot but could never really make something happen for his team today. Passing could’ve been better, he misplaced a couple of easy passes. In my opinion, his best football came when he was used as a winger and he rarely managed to make an impact as a central midfielder.
Rafinha: Came on with 15 minutes left, by this time the game was close to over with City dominating us. I didn’t expect him to have much of an impact on the game. He attempted 4 passes in 15 minutes which shows how much he was on the ball. Nothing he could’ve done to change the tide.
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.