opinions | 2018-08-19
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 1 - Barcelona 3:0 Alavés
New Season, Same Messi
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Barely had anything to do all game, Alaves didn’t really cause much threat at all. They only managed 2 or 3 shots all game. The highlight of his game was rushing out to a through ball and chipping it over the Alaves player.
Nélson Semedo (6): Didn’t offer too much on the ball, mostly played it simple and Alaves were comfortable defending against this. Defensively, he did well but he wasn’t troubled much as Alaves were rather poor going forward. Subbed off for Coutinho at HT. He’ll have to do a lot better if he wants to have a place in the starting line-up.
Gerard Piqué (7): Looked comfortable throughout the game, Alaves didn’t create much. Won all of.his duels. Passing was great as usual. It’s a good thing we had an easy game considering he has just returned from USA and missed some training sessions ahead of the game.
Samuel Umtiti (7): For the most part he was untroubled as Alaves played very deep and we managed around 75% possession. His passing was fine as we’d expect as we had most of the ball and Alaves sat off for the most part. He played some really nice passes through the lines to Dembélé. Alaves didn’t trouble him much defensively at all.
Jordi Alba (7): Did his job well, like Umtiti. At times he was caught too high up the pitch but his recovery runs were very good. In the final third he wasn’t too good especially when he had a cutback to Suárez but took the shot on. There wasn’t much space for him to operate in when in the final third so he had to play it simple most of the time. The second half was more of the same, he had a wonderful chance but Pacheco saved it. Alaves didn’t trouble him expect when they counter attacked which led to nothing.
Sergio Busquets (7.5): Great performance. Alaves players couldn’t get near him on the ball all game. Passing was great and he won 7 of 8 duels. Combined well with his teammates, especially with Messi. He seemed to be in a much better shape than he was in the supercup game. Subbed off with 5 minutes to go.
Ivan Rakitić (8.5): Wonderful display from start to finish. Very involved in possession, completed more than 100 passes, which doesn’t happen often. His long passing was superb, attempted 21 long passes and completed all of them. Did well defensively as well, even though Alaves were poor on the ball. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this up against better teams when he won’t have that much time and space on the ball but it was an impressive performance nonetheless.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Did alright in the first half but did not offer much going forward due to Alaves’ set up. Early on he lost the ball for a dangerous counter attack but it didn’t lead to much. He’s compensated for Messi coming inside well by going on the outside but other than that his first half was nothing special. In the second half, he got moved to RB and improved. He looks more comfortable there these days, everything about his game improved and he was able to cause Alaves trouble with his movement off the ball.
Lionel Messi (10): Another historic display. Superb from the 1st minute, his passing was sublime. He was behind everything Barça created in the 1st half and was close to scoring when he hit the bar from a FK. More.of the same in the 2nd half, and he scored a crucial 1st goal of the match with a wonderful FK under the wall. He could’ve easily had 3 or 4 assists on the night, but his teammates were quite wasteful. Scored another one in the last minute of the game to make it 3-0. We’re in for a fun ride if this is how he’ll perform all season.
Luis Suárez (6): Inconsistent with his passing once again. He’d find a great pass and then misplace the most simple pass next minute. Wasteful on the ball for the most part, only found himself in one clear chance in the entire game and he didn’t make it count. Great assist for Messi in the last minute, which is his only highlight from this match. Still early days, but we need a better Suárez if we want to compete for all the trophies this season.
Ousmane Dembélé (8): Very good performance, there are clear signs of his overall game improving a lot especially his movement off the ball. His final ball/action was not so good but the signs are promising that he’ll get better. There is no doubt he should be doing better on some of the chances he got but for large parts of the game he and Messi were our only threats going forward. His finishing let him down a lot but the rest of his game was very mature, his finishing will improve with time. He just needs to put performances in like this consistently (baring the finishing). Subbed off for Arthur with around 15 mins left.
Philippe Coutinho (7): Came on for Semedo at the start of the 2nd half and this substitution was crucial for the rest of the match. Barça needed that extra bit of creativity which was lacking in the 1st half when everything went through Messi. Whether he can play in midfield is still questionable but he provided a lot in this game, especially when he moved to the wing where he did than from the midfield position. Combined well with his teammates and scored the 2nd goal which essentially killed the game. I’d like to see him start on that left wing more often in the coming weeks.
Arthur: Came on for his Camp Nou debut with around 15 minutes left. He looked comfortable for the most part except in the final third where he had a chance to score. However, he did manage to get an assist for Coutinho’s goal which was nice. I’d love to see him start next game because he deserves it for his performances since he’s joined.
Arturo Vidal: Replaced Busquets with 5 minutes left in the game, making his La Liga debut. Not much to say as the game was already done at this point. He completed all of his passes.
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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.