opinions | 2017-11-27
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 13 - Valencia 1:1 Barcelona
The team manages to salvage a point after an outrageous mistake by the officiating
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Had a good game. Barely had a save to make for most of the game. VCF barely got into dangerous positions around our box in the first half but this changed in the second, they got in behind quite often but were quite wasteful. Passing was really good. On the goal there wasn’t much he could do, it was a collection of errors that led to the goal.
Nélson Semedo (5): Didn’t have a great game but part of it is down to his teammates and lack of support he received on the right side as well. Couldn’t do much going forward. Defensively, he did well to press early on but the problems started later in the game. As Barça lost control of the game, he was left with a lot of space to defend and no support. Not only has Valencia scored their only goal because of this, but they could’ve easily gotten another one. Subbed off with 10 minutes left.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Another solid performance, even though he played on the right side of the defence which isn’t natural for him. Fantastic in the first half, dealt with everything Valencia threw at him with ease, excellent under pressure. Perhaps could’ve done a bit better on Valencia’s goal, he jumped the wrong way which allowed Rodrigo an easy finish but that goal was mostly down to other players and he can’t be blamed. He passed the ball well and contributed a lot defensively in Piqué’s absence.
Thomas Vermaelen (7): Had a decent game for the most part, especially since he hasn’t played too much. Passing was good though he generally played it safe to Alba or Busquets. Took up good positions in build up making it easy to get past their press. Umtiti has stood out more but he has done his job really well. On the goal, he let Rodrigo get in front of him, this was perhaps the only big mistake of his game. He did have some struggles in the second half with a lack of vertical option to pass to since Paulinho went walkabout in terms of positioning.
Jordi Alba (6.5): Made some really good runs off the ball that could’ve led to very dangerous situations for VCF but he couldn’t get the ball. Late on however, he did manage to get on the ball and put it into the back of the net after doing his signature off the ball run behind the defence. Passing was on the safe side and hasn’t taken risks on the ball. Most of his passes were to Vermaelen and Iniesta. Defensively he wasn’t tested too much, most of Valencia’s attacks came down their left side. Though the goal, there is still a lot to improve on for him.
Sergio Busquets (7): One of the best players on the pitch. Fantastic in possession, Iniesta and Messi played close to him and he always had options. Managed to find a solution every time Valencia pressed him on the ball. The way he read the game was impressive to watch, always found himself just where he needed to be at the right time. Defensively, he’s done well except when he was left alone and needed to cover a lot of ground at times. It’s great to see him perform on this level every week.
Ivan Rakitić (4.5): Useless in possession. Had a shot on goal early on and other than that I can’t remember what else he did in the entire game. Crossing was poor, could never find a target in the box. Not good enough on Valencia’s goal, he didn’t track the run and just stood there behind Semedo who was left with a lot of space and 2 players to mark. Subbed off after 68 minutes.
Andres Iniesta (8): Another top game. Could’ve got 2 goals but his shots were weak from great positions. His linking with Messi has been very good and has got rid of any pressure from VCF players with ease. In the second half, he had some issues since Valencia stepped up but still was playing at a very high level. I’m not entirely sure why he was subbed off since he was our only creative MF player. Busquets did create but not at the level of what Iniesta could. It’s nice seeing him playing at such a high level so consistently after being written off last season.
Paulinho (6): Done some very good covering work after we lost the ball which is not what he has shown as of late. It helped a lot to make us dominate Valencia in the first half because they could barely hold the ball. On the ball he wasn’t too good but kept it safe with his passes to Alba and sometimes Messi. His movement and late runs made it difficult for Valencia to deal with Messi and Iniesta in the first half. In the second half, he was rather anonymous as Valencia were the better team and he just did a lot of chasing and trying to break play up. He was better than Rakitić but still not too great when we found it tough.
Lionel Messi (7): Very involved from the 1st minute, his teammates looked for him and he managed to get on the ball a lot, but the lack of movement in the final third and on the wings meant he had to do too much on his own. Scored a clear goal in the 1st half after Neto’s mistake but somehow none of the refs have seen the ball cross the line. Looked dangerous on counters, but Suárez never managed to stay onside. Played a wonderful pass to Alba, who made it 1-1. It was kind of a pass only he can make. Solid performance but it’s a shame it couldn’t lead to a win because of referees’ incompetence.
Luis Suárez (4.5): Same story we’ve seen all season long, awful on the ball and couldn’t change the outcome of the game. The amount of times he found himself in the offside position to ruin a solid team move was painful to see. Didn’t have too many chances to score, kept his shots on target but Neto had it easy to stop them. Another game to forget, surely Paco will have to be given more chances going forward.
Gerard Deulofeu: Replaced Rakitić in the last 20 minutes. His decision making was absolutely terrible, never made a right decision on the ball. Be it him dribbling straight into 3 players to lose the ball or not crossing/passing when he had to, misplacing easy passes, it was all too frustrating to watch.
Denis Suárez: Came on for Iniesta with 15 or so minutes left. He did play rather well, he was able to keep the ball well though sometimes his releasing of the ball was slow and got dispossessed. Playing him with Iniesta would’ve made more sense since we could have more dribblers and stronger players on the ball on the pitch but his little run out was good though you could see some rustiness when he got the ball.
Aleix Vidal: Subbed on for Semedo with 10 minutes left in the game. Hasn’t done anything worth noting, misplaced a couple of 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.