opinions | 2017-10-29
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 10 - Athletic Bilbao 0:2 Barcelona
Messi and Paulinho hit the mark as Barça grabs a key win away from home
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (9): MOTM without a doubt. Made a top save to deny an almost certain goal from Aduriz in the first half. So many times this season he’s had to keep us in games. Passing was a bit off due to lack of options to pass to bar the defenders but didn’t lead to anything bad. In the 2nd half, he had to do even more work than in the first 20/30 minutes. Without him there is no doubt we would’ve conceded 3 goals at the very least. He’s come along way since the SuperCopa game here in 2015 and he’s been showing it all season.
Sergi Roberto (6): Started as a RB and did well defensively for the most part. Won most of his duels. Going forward he didn’t do too much, made a few solid runs on counter attacks which is one of the biggest strengths in his game. Moved to midfield in the last 10 minutes of the game when Semedo was subbed on. Played a huge part in Barça’s 2nd goal. I’d love to see him play in MF more often.
Gerard Piqué (5.5): Had some trouble in aerial duels in the 1st half, Athletic managed to create 2 solid chances this way when his reaction was too late. Got better as the game went on and read the game well even though it’s obvious he’s far from his best. Passing was fine as usual. He needs to become more consistent, Umtiti and ter Stegen have too much on their hands at the moment.
Samuel Umtiti (8): The usual from him. Held our defence down as Piqué went walkabouts for 60 odd minutes and Alba got destroyed 1v1 against Iñaki plenty of times. Passing was good but didn’t play too much between the lines due to lack of options. On the odd occasion he got caught out stepping up but Athletic didn’t make most of their chances. He got a stupid booking, it has to be said. As Athletic started dominating in the second half, he stepped up and dealt with all their attacks, most notable Iñaki who became quiet after the 1st half.
Jordi Alba (6): Average for the most part. Poor defensively for large parts of the game, Iñaki destroyed him for around 30 minutes straight until Umtiti gave him a helping hand. Going forward he’s been decent. He managed an assist with a great cutback to Messi. As the 1stt half went on, he looked better defensively due to us getting a better hold on the game but still it wasn’t too good bar a few moments. He gave the ball away needlessly and was quite reluctant to go forward as the game went on. Started the season well but it seems like he’s going back to his form from the last 2 years.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): Solid performance. He was the midfielder with most passes completed which was expected in Iniesta’s absence. Did well defensively, winning 9 out of 13 duels, managed 4 important clearances and read the game well. He struggled a bit in the 2nd half as he had less passing options but he didn’t make many mistakes and was great under pressure.
Paulinho (5): People will sing his praises but for the most part he wasn’t good. His link up with Messi was very good however. Had a great chance to score from a Messi cutback but his shot hit the crossbar. He plays more like a forward than a CM so he’s always in front of the ball, this means it was easier for Athletic to attack our goal since he’s in no position to defend. What’s the point of playing him in MF when he doesn’t play like one? Being one man light in midfield is always asking for trouble. He was somehow rewarded with a goal late on to finish the game after some great work from Sergi and Messi.
Ivan Rakitić (4): A rather poor game from him once again. Going forward he barely managed to make anything happen, only managed 1 solid pass that made things happen. His passing was off and he got dispossessed quite often. Simply too slow and doesn’t take any risks on the ball. He shouldn’t start games anymore, it’s quite clear at this point.
André Gomes (5): Pretty average performance, but how he was instructed to play didn’t help him since he’s not a wide player. He was unable to beat his man multiple times due to lack of pace. Had a chance to score but his shot was well blocked. Later into the 2nd half, he had more chances but you could see he was low on confidence as he hesitated a lot. On the Messi goal, his movement to drag the Athletic defender away to give Messi space was great. Played a lot better without the ball than with it. He was replaced by Semedo with around 10 mins left.
Lionel Messi (7.5): Very involved from the start even though he misplaced quite a few passes which we don’t see often. Had one of the worst misses in his entire career after he got past the GK but but the post from close range. He took over the game near the end of the 1st half. Started a move with a brilliant pass to Alba on the left and finished it with ease. Managed a couple of great passes for his teammates, but all of those have gone to waste. He looked tired in the last 20 minutes of the game but once again played a part in Barça’s 2nd goal.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Showed some signs of improvement. Much more active and moving better, constantly asking questions of Athletic defence. Things didn’t always go well for him on the ball and this still isn’t his highest level but he looked more isolated in previous games. Managed 2 key passes, the best one was for Messi in the 1st half which should’ve ended with a goal. Played a part in Barça’s 2nd goal after his shot was saved and Paulinho tapped it in.
Nélson Semedo: Replaced Gomes with around 10 minutes left. It was hard for him to influence anything, he got forward really well but had to play a lot more defensively than he would’ve liked to since we were on the backfoot for the last 10/15 mins.
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.