opinions | 2018-02-21
Player Ratings - Champions League Last 16 - Chelsea 1:1 Barcelona
Messi breaks his duck against Chelsea securing a important result away from home
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Had a rather quiet game for the most part. On the goal there wasn’t much he could do, he was unsighted. Willian got other chances which hit each post, our poor defending would’ve been the reason he scored even more. His passing was good, though some wayward long ball here and there. It would’ve been nice to go into the 2nd leg with a clean sheet but we are in the driving seat.
Sergi Roberto (5.5): Couldn’t do much going forward as Chelsea defended deep. Crossing was poor, didn’t complete a single cross in the game. Passing was good however, completed most of his passes and didn’t misplace many, even when he was under pressure. Defensively, he didn’t have it easy as Hazard often moved to his side and caused some trouble. Solid defensively at times but also had some bad moments, most notable one when he failed to clear the ball and Chelsea almost scored from a rebound.
Gerard Piqué (7): Solid performance at the back. Didn’t make mistakes and dealt with everything Chelsea threw at him. Had a couple of important clearances. Passing was fantastic even when Chelsea pressed high and he was under pressure. I can’t remember him misplacing a single pass in the entire game.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Had a mixed game. At times he looked shaky but at other times he looked really good. He passed the ball really well and wasn’t under much pressure when Chelsea pressed but at times, he was a bit shaky in his defending. Willian got more time than he should’ve. On the goal, maybe he could’ve done better but the play but Rudiger to shield the path of the shot was smart. Overall, he and Piqué were rather good as Chelsea were only limited to a 0.46xG.
Jordi Alba (6): Had a good game but didn’t get into it as much as he would’ve liked to. Chelsea defended well and there was little space for him to run into. When he got the ball in the final third, his options were closed down well so he couldn’t do too much. He was good when it came to passing, he was able to find Iniesta and Busi quite often who were much more dangerous on the ball. Managed to deal with Chelsea’s counters quite well.
Sergio Busquets (8): One of Barça’s best players on the pitch, if not the best. Fantastic in possession, Chelsea couldn’t get near him even with their great pressing at times. Watching him react under pressure and find solutions every single time was a joy to watch. Completed 128 passes which is easily the biggest number this season. Controlled the tempo and passed with ease. Had a great game off the ball for the most part, won most of his duels cleanly. Could’ve probably done better on Chelsea’s goal as Willian was allowed too much space, but great performance nonetheless.
Ivan Rakitić (5): Saw a lot of the ball but couldn’t do anything going forward. His passing was too safe at times and he didn’t take risks at all going forward even when it looked like he was allowed space on the ball. He didn’t have too much to do defensively as Chelsea were sitting deep for a large part of the game. Picked up a yellow card early on and then commited a couple of fouls later on. None of those was enough for a 2nd yellow but subbing him off wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Luckily for us, it ended well.
Andres Iniesta (7): Had a really good game. At times he was quiet and didn’t look so good but in the second half he came to life. He got into good positions as the game went on. Until the final third, he was going about his game in a lot of ease although he played a bit too far wide. The awareness to see Christensen’s poor pass and nick the ball was great and the assist was just as good. A crucial play from which put us in the driving seat. He’ll play a crucial role if we are to go into the next round.
Paulinho (0): Absolutely woeful. I thought he couldn’t play worse than he did against Eibar but I guess I was wrong. The worst player on the pitch without any doubt, his lack of quick decision making led to many counters for Chelsea, luckily none came to much. His passing was terrible too, always the wrong option and never looked to pass forward. His game was summed up by Busquets winning the ball and he tackling Busquets, giving Chelsea possession again. He must not start the second leg, he’s useless against a low block. It’s as if we play with 10 men.
Lionel Messi (7): Very difficult game as he was Barça’s only player besides Iniesta who could make a difference 1 vs.1, and Chelsea were sitting deep. Started well, often dribbling past a couple of players and crossing the ball. One of those should’ve resulted in a goal but Paulinho’s finish was poor. He didn’t find himself in many chances, Chelsea managed to keep him far from their goal and he was always surrounded by a few players. However, it didn’t take too much for him to make a difference. Scored the equaliser after a Chelsea mistake and some great work by Iniesta. That was his only chance and only shot on goal. Great moment to break the Chelsea curse.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Practically invisible in the 1st half. Barça struggled to create chances and he looked isolated up front, had to drift wide to the left wing quite often, and he simply isn’t too dangerous when he is far from opposition’s box. He received the ball more often in the 2nd half, had one great individual move to get in behind the Chelsea defence and take a shot, but Courtois did well. That was his only shot on target. Worked well off the ball.
Aleix Vidal: Replaced Paulinho after Chelsea scored. In the little he played, he did a lot better than the Brazilian. It makes me wonder why he didn’t start if we knew Chelsea would sit deep. He was more of a threat than Paulinho was and although he didn’t impact a lot but he did make much better decisions than Paulinho and we saw less counter attacks from Chelsea after the sub. He had a good performance but, in usual Aleix fashion, his next game could be poor.
André Gomes: Came on with barely 5 minutes left. Don’t have anything to say about his game but I’m sure he on the right as uncomfortable it is for him, would be better than Paulinho.
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.