opinions | 2016-11-07
Rating the players after the impressive turnaround vs Sevilla
Messi, Mascherano and Umtiti stand out in one of Barça's most important matches of the season
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Had the ball a lot due to Sevilla’s wonderful pressing and distributed it very well. On the goal he couldn’t do much even though he got a hand on it after a catastrophic error from Sergi Roberto. Late into the second half, he almost gifted Sevilla an easy goal from a corner, completely missed the ball. He has improved in this department since joining but it is still one of his weak points.
Sergi Roberto (5): Started off a bit shaky, but the way the team played as a whole in the first half didn’t help him at all. The first goal is on him though, poor reaction that led to Sevilla’s opener as Vitolo was getting past him with ease early on. Got more comfortable later with a solid defensive display in the second half. Better in possession than Digne on the left side today.
Javier Mascherano (8): Truly spectacular performance defensively. Lost count of how many crucial clearances, interceptions and tackles he had in this game. It reminded me of that great game he had against the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup. Together with Umtiti he did well to build out the back, and his long passes were accurate for the most part. He really delivered in this game and I think it’s safe to say Barça wouldn’t have left Sevilla with all 3 points in the bag if it wasn’t for him.
Samuel Umtiti (8): Held the whole defence up for most of the game, kept us in the first half whilst everyone on the pitch was very poor. He dealt with the strong Sevilla press very well unlike the other defenders who hesitated and gave the ball away. His partnership with Mascherano seems to be getting a lot better, both of them were fantastic. In the second half as we improved, he played a lot more like Piqué by dribbling through the heart of midfield. No one expected him to fit in this quickly, it seems as if he has been in La Masia all his life with what he has been showing.
Lucas Digne (5): Atrocious for the most part. Find it hard to recall playing a successful pass in the defensive third in the first half. Poor on the ball, just like earlier this season. Got beaten by Sevilla attackers with ease early on and his build up play was below par. Lucho made a nice change to play him more on the inside, this helped in getting control of the game and he started winning the ball higher up the pitch. He’s got to become more consistent. When he does play well he is really solid but when he doesn’t, a lot like Alba last season.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): In the first half we saw the same story as earlier this season, Barça struggled to find the rhythm and couldn’t dominate in midfield, Busi often got overrun by Sevilla players as he often had no passing options with the ball. Second half was a different story, the midfield looked more compact and defensively he didn’t have as much to do as in the first half. Passed the ball with ease, especially later on when Barça were in control. Let’s hope we’ll see more of that in the upcoming games.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Barça faced the same issues as in that Manchester City game and the midfield, including him, looked disorganized and offered no control. He couldn’t manage to bring that stability in midfield, but going forward he did well to find himself in good positions in Sevilla’s final third. Had a chance to score but his shot went straight at Sergio Rico. Defensively, looked better in the second half, making it easier for Busquets. Subbed off for André Gomes in the 73rd minute.
Denis Suarez (7): His work off the ball was the highlight of the first half, attempted 6 tackles even though he was meant to attack. He can no doubt do the dirty work when he needs to. Very comfortable in his passing, even when Sevilla pressed well. In the second half, he stamped his mark on the game. For me, he and Messi changed the game. He played more like Iniesta would, asking for the ball, and was key in the first goal, he carried the ball past Sevilla's players before passing it to Neymar who assisted Messi. This was his best game for Barça, he had a little dip in form but let's hope he keeps this up. Lucho picking him over André Gomes paid off even if the Portuguese did well when he came on.
Lionel Messi (10): Easily man of the match today, despite brilliant defensive displays from Umtiti and Mascherano. He worked tirelessly and helped the team defensively after turning the tabs on Sevilla. Brought Barça back into the game with his brilliant finish from the edge of the box. He was everywhere, often dropping deep when the team struggled to control the game from midfield. In the second half he created tons of chances for his teammates, and luckily Suárez managed to convert one of those to win the game. For me, his best game of the season.
Luis Suárez (6.5): Started off poorly after a great counterattack by Barça, he should’ve done better to finish it off. His decision making wasn’t the best in the first half even though he worked a lot without the ball and tried to get involved as often as he could. Finally managed to score after a brilliant counterattack in the second half and Messi’s pass. His pressing was great and he seemed more comfortable taking players on in the second half compared to recent games. Could’ve scored more but his finishing still isn't at its best, but we’ll be more than happy with his winning goal. Picked up a yellow card and will miss the next La Liga game.
Neymar (5): Gave away the ball for the Sevilla goal and his only contribution in the first half was the assist to Messi which left us surprised. In the second half it changed, though his decision making was still questionable, he was successfully beating players and creating chances which was non-existent early on. Could’ve scored to seal the game later on but his indecisiveness lead him to dribble right into the goalkeeper. Improved a lot in the second half but it was still a dreadful performance. He hindered our game at times and others he looked great. Needs consistency and he needs it fast.
André Gomes (6): Replaced Rakitić in the last 20 minutes of the game and he helped the team defensively, which was great to see. His passing was fine bar a few misplaced ones, but the highlight was his work rate which helped the team in the last stage of the game.
Rafinha: Nothing to really note, he came on for Denis Suarez with 5 minutes left and barely attempted a pass after coming on.
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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.