opinions | 2018-03-15
Player Ratings - Champions League Last 16 - Barcelona 3:0 Chelsea
Messi delivers a masterclass to dispatch Chelsea as Dembélé scores his first goal for the club
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Had a great game. He was called into action a few times in the first half. Some of the saves were quite routine for him. Chelsea didn’t really create many good chances though they hit the post and crossbar. Second half was more of the same, a few saves here and there. Passing was good, though he misplaced some. Deserved clean sheet.
Sergi Roberto (5): Had a tough time defending Alonso and Hazard cutting in from that side. He struggled and often needed help from his teammates, Dembélé did a great job helping him. It didn’t help that he picked up a yellow card quite early in the game. Going forward, he didn’t do much. I don’t remember him getting even close to Chelsea’s box once. Passing was good, he didn’t give the ball away too much.
Gerard Piqué (7.5): Great performance. Perhaps not as busy as Umtiti, especially in the 1st half but he did a great job at the back on many occasions. Chelsea found it easy getting into Barça’s box but once they got there, he stopped everything coming his way, together with Umtiti. Had a couple of crucial blocks and interceptions and won most of his duels, Giroud couldn’t dominate against him in the air. Passing was great as usual.
Samuel Umtiti (8): Absolutely wonderful. Perhaps his best game in around 2 months. Passing was rather good though he found it difficult to find Iniesta like he usually does. He managed 7 interceptions, 3 blocked shots and 3 clearances. It was a monster of a game defensively. Neither Giroud or Morata got any chance at goal. His block in the first half led to the error in the buildup to Dembélé’s first goal for the club. The second half was more of the same, he dealt with everything thrown his way.
Jordi Alba (7): Had a good game, at times he was poor defensively and got caught out of position but so did Sergi Roberto. He passed well but couldn’t do too much in the final third as Chelsea for the most part marked and limited him quite well. As the game went on, he improved defensively but ended up picking up an issue with his leg. Due to no subs he had to carry on, let's hope this hasn’t aggravated it and it's a minor issue.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): Did well to get out of Chelsea’s press most of the time, he didn’t see as much of the ball as usual but passing was great, he always managed to find options. Off the ball, he was often left with too much space to defend and Chelsea found it easy getting into Barça’s third as he isn’t the quickest player out there. Subbed off after 61 minutes after picking up a knock. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be a serious injury but he’ll miss the next Liga game.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Didn’t do too much on the ball, completed more passes than Busquets or Iniesta but most were sideways passes. Couldn’t break Chelsea’s press either, a rather poor display on the ball. He worked well defensively and provided help for Sergi who had to deal with Alonso and Hazard. Won most of his duels and had a couple of solid tackles. Should be doing better than this on the ball, even though he had some decent games as of late.
Andres Iniesta (7): Played quite well although he had to come off early because he felt some muscle discomfort. His dribbling was really good, he managed to get past Chelsea’s 4 man MF and their 5 man defence on multiple occasions. Once again his defensive game will go unnoticed, Alba was caught out of position and he tracked back to stop a dangerous attack from Willian. He managed to complete 97% of his passes and managed 1 key pass. Let’s hope he doesn’t suffer a relapse. Paulinho replaced him after 56 minutes.
Ousmane Dembélé (8): Carried on from his strong performance against Malaga. His work with Messi led to the first goal. Messi repaid the favour by handing him his first goal for the club. A well taken finish. His dribbling was great though he lost the ball at times. His passing however was very conservative to what we usually see of him. At times he was caught napping with his lack of defensive work but this was somewhat expected since he’s still learning. However, he made a vital last ditch sliding tackle to stop Alonso scoring an almost certain goal. Great game from him. He was replaced by Vidal with 20 minutes left.
Lionel Messi (9): Once again made all the difference. Great start to the match, smart finish with his right foot from what seemed like an impossible angle. Usually he doesn’t take a shot from that position but he saw Courtois legs were wide open. He dropped deep and was ready to take on Chelsea players whenever possible. Brilliant work on Barça’s 2nd, took the ball away at halfway line, got past 2, spotted Dembélé’s run and assisted him perfectly. He didn’t receive the ball in dangerous areas too many times, but when he did, he made it count. Scored his 100th CL goal later on in the 2nd half after another great run. Another day at the office for the best ever.
Luis Suárez (7): Didn’t have many chances to score himself but he perfectly demonstrated his ability to impact the game without scoring as a striker. Great assist for Messi to open the game. Chelsea managed to keep him quiet for the most part and he didn’t receive the ball in dangerous areas. Great run on Barça’s 2nd goal to drag Chelsea defenders away from Dembélé. Found himself in a great chance after Courtois gave the ball away, but he couldn’t finish. Should’ve done better on that play. Picked up another assist later on, even though Messi has done most of the work.
Paulinho: Replaced Iniesta early into the second half. As expected he wasn’t too good. For large parts of the second half he was anonymous. His passing however was not bad, he didn’t lose the ball carelessly. His sub was not really needed as we lost more control expected but by this time Chelsea weren’t really too threatening.
André Gomes: Subbed on for injured Busquets with 30 minutes left in the game. It was great to see crowd’s reaction after he recently came out and talked about his struggles. Wasn’t involved too much but he looked more confident on the ball at times. Completed all of his passes. Played a big part in Barça’s 3rd goal, the move started with him applying the pressure on Chelsea players and then making a smart run to drag the defenders away from Messi. Let’s hope the way the crowd received him in this game will help him gain some confidence.
Aleix Vidal: Subbed on for Dembélé with 20 minutes left. He wasn’t too effective. He did bring width but kept going down at every opportunity possible. Passing wasn’t bad but half of the time he was stuck on the right side of the pitch and the other half he was on the floor. By this time the game was dead as we already had a 3 goal lead on the night.
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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.