opinions | 2016-11-24
Champions League Group Stage - Celtic 0:2 Barcelona - Player Ratings
Messi stars with his omnipresence as the back line and Busquets start to get back in shape
Marc-André ter Stegen (6): Not as good as his usual though it got better as Celtic started to sit back. Made a good save from a great Dembele shot. Other than that his first half was quiet. The second half was nearly identical, saved a Dembele header but his passing was more consistent on the second half.
Sergi Roberto (6): Solid. In the first half, Celtic often tried to attack through his side but he did well defensively for the most part. He wasn’t as active going forward as in the game against Malaga, but that was expected with Messi on the pitch. He still managed to complete a couple of dribbles and penetrate through the Celtic backline but his decision-making in the last third of the pitch could’ve been better.
Gerard Piqué (7): Once again the leader and a strong presence at the back. Rock solid defensively, his positioning was great and he always reacted well when his team needed him. Passed the ball well and helped build from the back, his long passes were strong as well. He joined the attack quite often but didn’t make an impact in Celtic’s box. Subbed off for Marlon in the second half.
Javier Mascherano (7): Great defending when he was called upon, especially when Celtic got a rare counterattack. Over the past few weeks his passing has been really solid and today was no different, he didn’t hit long balls aimlessly as he has been prone to at times. Covered for Piqué well as he is no doubt faster and Piqué was targeted more by Dembele who is pretty fast to say the very least. Good performance from the Argentine who has been reliable since the season has started.
Jordi Alba (6.5): Surprisingly, he played really well, making good decisions in the final third. Though he got booked stupidly and almost got us countered by playing a square pass to Busquets, on the whole he hasn’t done much else wrong defensively. In terms of attacking, his crossing was good. He was replaced by Digne after 65 minutes, maybe because he was already booked but it was an odd sub for Lucho to make. Let’s hope what he’s shown so far can be replicated throughout the whole season.
Sergio Busquets (7): One of his best performances so far this season, he was at his best. The midfield looked much more compact compared to previous games and Messi dropped deeper so that made his job much easier and allowed him to play to his qualities. Passing was great, the highlight was a perfect pass for Messi in the first half, but the Argentine couldn’t control the ball.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Didn’t really contribute much in the buildup, he occupied the right wing and was glued to that side for the majority of the game with Messi dropping deep and contributing in the buildup. This made his defensive contribution more important and he helped Sergi defensively, good without the ball as per usual. Passing was fine, especially his long passes, completed eight out of 10. He seems lost at times on that right side ever since Alves left. Picked up a yellow card which will make him miss the last match of the group stage.
André Gomes (6.5): Not the best of his games, looked lost especially in the first half. His runs off the ball in the final third have been good though, opening space up for Neymar and Messi. Played a good part in creating the goal without even touching the ball. Passing was good, but defensively he had some trouble with the aggressive press from Celtic. In the second half, he settled down and was able to do more with the ball. He’s settling in well, he’ll still need more time but a decision needs to be made whether he becomes a 6 or 8.
Lionel Messi (9): Man of the match yet again, fantastic performance all around. Dropped deeper and got involved from the start, taking on the Celtic defenders. He missed a good chance early on but it didn’t take long for him to get on the scoresheet after a brilliant pass from Neymar. Passing was great and he combined well with his teammates, especially with Neymar in the first half. Scored his second from the penalty box after Suárez was fouled in the box. Created two great chances for Suárez today but the Uruguayan striker couldn’t finish. Later on he was close to a hat-trick but his shot went just wide.
Luis Suárez (6): Applied pressure on Celtic’s back four from the start and worked tirelessly without the ball. In the first half he didn’t find chances to score. Brought down in the box at the start of the second half and won the penalty for Barça, which Messi converted. Later on he found himself in a great chance after Messi did everything and put it on a plate for him, but his shot hit the woodwork. He continues to struggle in front of goal but he helped the team in other aspects today which is good to see.
Neymar (5): Great assist for Messi, but kept slowing our attacks down, should’ve scored but stupidly decided to play Suárez instead. Passing not too bad today. Held the ball too long and did his stupid half-the-pitch dribble. He had the better of the Celtic full back nine times out of 10, but still didn’t make much of it. Decision-making got worse and worse as the game went on. He got the ball a lot especially from Alba but still did next to nothing with it. Lucky to stay on the pitch in the second half, I have no idea what was going through his head when he attacked Lustig off the ball. Luckily he got subbed for Arda and will miss the next match due to picking up a yellow. He needs to sort these behavioral issues out or otherwise we could have a big problem in the most demanding matches.
Lucas Digne: The Frenchman replaced Jordi Alba after 66 minutes. There are no complaints of how he did, defensively he was barely troubled. Completed all of his passes but most were backward toward ter Stegen. He seems to have adapted pretty well. Celtic Park isn’t the easiest place to play but he looked rather comfortable. He still has much to improve on but so far he hasn’t done too bad this season.
Marlon: Replaced Piqué in the last 20 minutes of the match for his official debut with the first team. He positioned himself well on the pitch and reacted well when needed, looked comfortable for the most part. There’s not much to say as we’ll need a bigger sample to analyze his performances but it was nice to see him get his debut.
Arda Turan: The Turk came on in the 77th minute for Neymar who got off lucky. He barely got the ball so we can’t really comment much about his performance, although he looked up good positions on the left which should be the only position he plays regardless of versatility. He struggles in midfield and on the right.
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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.