opinions | 2017-09-13
Player Ratings - Champions League Group Stage - Barcelona 3:0 Juventus
Messi does his thing as Barça gets back at Juventus for last season
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7.5): Top performance from the German. Passing was really good and his pass like against Espanyol started off an attack that led to a goal. A very dangerous weapon that can be used for quick counter attacks. Early on he made some really top saves to keep us from going behind and continued to do so in the second half. The clean sheets keep coming one after the other, though the defence has been suspect at times. Let’s hope he can keep this up.
Nélson Semedo (8): Great performance yet again. Defensively he was solid, Douglas Costa could barely do anything against him, especially in the 1st half. His quickness saved Barça at times when Juve broke through the pressing in the 1st half. Passing was solid. Picked up a yellow card at the end of the 1st half but faced no problems later on.
Gerard Piqué (7): Leader at the back. Barely put a foot wrong all game and his passing out the back was superb, completed 96% of his passes. Involved in the 1st goal with a great long pass to Dembélé. Defensively he was solid, managed 3 clearances including a very important one when he cleared the ball off the line after a Juve set piece.
Samuel Umtiti (7.5): Stepped up for the occasion. Passing was very consistent. Higuain had to change sides as he had no joy against the Frenchman. You could even add Dybala to that. He and Semedo were best performing defenders and have been since the start of the season. Though Juve got a few chances here and there, he played like a brick wall and dealt almost everything that Juve threw at him. The sky's the limit, he just gets better and better as the days go by.
Jordi Alba (6.5): A lot of space for him but didn’t make the most of it. He was pretty assured on the ball but didn’t cause too much threat for Juve. He’s been instructed to man the left flank on his own. This is proving difficult as he isn’t used to playing this role. Perhaps, he will get better with more playtime but I see him too limited to play this role. He got caught out occasionally defensively but nothing too major. On the first goal, he made a vital run to pull defenders away from Messi allowing him to link with Suárez and score.
Sergio Busquets (7): Dominant display. With Barça putting the focus back on midfield, he was more involved in the buildup and just did what he does best while always having passing options. Iniesta and Rakitić (who doesn’t have to babysit the RB anymore) were positioned much closer to him compared to previous season, and it made his job easier. He’ll be able to put up these kind of performances on a weekly basis if the focus continues to be on midfield.
Ivan Rakitić (7): After a great game for the weekend, he put up another solid performance. Didn’t show too much early on but got more comfortable as the game went on. Not having to babysit the RB and being positioned closer to the rest of the midfield clearly helps him a lot this season compared to the last one. Passing was fine, especially his long passes to switch the play to the left side when needed. Great finish to make it 2-0. Subbed off with 15 minutes to go.
Andres Iniesta (7.5): Great game. Juve couldn’t get the ball off him and he’s caused a lot of trouble behind their MF line. He played like Iniesta of old, effortlessly dribbling past players. As the 1st half went on, he lost some influence but regained it in the 2nd half. He along with Busquets ran the midfield for large parts of the game.
Ousmane Dembélé (6): Not a great game from him. Looked quite nervous and hesitant. This will change overtime, once he settles. Quiet for a long parts of the game but got more involved as the 1st half went on. Played a great part in both Messi goals. The first one, his touch to take it away from the Juve player was key in setting Messi free and for the second goal, his decoy run allowed Messi space to come inside and finish. Alex Sandro had some trouble against him. Passing was pretty bad as was his decision making but it’ll change with time. His second half was poor and then he was replaced with Sergi.
Lionel Messi (9): Struggled a bit early on as his passing was off and he got dispossessed more than usual. As the game went on, he started making the difference. Scored a crucial 1st goal just before the HT whistle, spectacular finish and made it look simple after he combined with Suárez. Played a crucial role in the 2nd goal as his pass after a great run was clear off the line and Rakitić scored. Another brilliant finish later on to make it 3-0. Playing further up the pitch as a false 9 has done wonders for both him and Barça this season so far.
Luis Suárez (6): Still trying to adapt to his new role, the Uruguayan had another hot and cold performance. Him being positioned wider helped Messi receive the ball in dangerous areas but his passing and link-up play in general was really poor for the most part. He did however play a crucial role in the 1st goal after he combined with Messi, who made it 1-0. Didn’t have many chances to score, he managed 1 shot on target in the 1st half, but Buffon did well.
Sergi Roberto: Replaced Dembélé with 20 odd minutes left. Slotted into the RM spot as Barcelona changed to a 4-4-2. He did his job fine, nothing spectacular. By this time Barça just wanted to close the game out and he did the job.
Paulinho: Subbed on for Rakitić in the last 15 minutes of the game. The game was basically done when he came on and he didn’t contribute much. Passed the ball well.
André Gomes: Subbed on for Iniesta with 6 or so minutes left and didn’t really do much to note so next to impossible to comment on how he did.
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.