opinions | 2016-12-03
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 14 - Barcelona vs Real Madrid
Iniesta makes a triumphant return in a decent collective performance
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Made two saves in the first half but they were half chances from Real Madrid so it was quite comfortable for the German. His passing has been alright to say the least. At times, it was a bit shaky but it did help us in build up pretty well. Madrid barely troubled him, and on the goal there was nothing he could do. To leave Ramos free on a set piece is asking for trouble.
Sergi Roberto (6): Solid at the back for the most part. Didn’t start the game too well as Madrid looked dangerous down the left side but he looked more comfortable as the game went on and did well against Ronaldo and Benzema. Going forward, he tried to contribute down the right wing but couldn’t do too much to affect the game and kept it safe for the most part. Passing was fine, he didn’t make too many mistakes today.
Gerard Piqué (7): Another good performance at the back today. First half was fantastic, he positioned himself well and did great whenever he was needed defensively. In the second half, he didn’t have many standout moments defensively but he hardly put a foot wrong today. Passing wasn’t as impressive as it usually is, but he didn’t have it easy as Barça struggled in midfield in the first half and sometimes he lacked options for passes. Great to see him continue with this good form even after the injury.
Javier Mascherano (5.5): Shaky today, Cristiano had the better of him often in the first half and one of his challenges should’ve been a pen. Passing has been decent, misplacing long balls more than usual but he didn’t make any stupid errors in build up as we can expect from him every now and then. Madrid’s wingers gave him trouble especially in the first half. As we improved, this become less of a problem for him. Benzema didn’t really trouble him too much but he got into some problems late into the game as Madrid pressed on. Not the best of matches, but a bad game happens now and then. Sadly it was today, but thankfully it didn’t cost us.
Jordi Alba (6.5): Surprisingly good today, could be because he didn’t have to face Bale. Defensively he was pretty sound, highlighted by the fact that he completed 80% of his tackles. The highlight of his defensive work was that wonder stop he did against Benzema, no one expected him to win the duel. Passing was solid today, he only misplaced 7 passes. Usually he misplaces more passes against worse opposition. He has been said to be defensively weak but today he’s shown that he has improved in that aspect. Vazquez is not an easy person to play against, it has to be said. Good performance, glad he stepped up when he had to. Digne’s competition has made him up his level this season for sure.
Sergio Busquets (8): Probably the best performance of the season for him. First half was great despite the fact that he sometimes didn’t have many options when he was on the ball until Iniesta came on. Impressive display defensively, positioned himself well and got the ball back to Barça’s possession many times. His job got much easier after Iniesta came on and the midfield looked more compact. It’s a shame this performance might go unnoticed because the result wasn’t ideal for Barça.
Ivan Rakitić (5): Not much different from what we saw in the last couple of weeks, didn’t offer much in possession but he did well defensively when he was on the pitch. Passing was a bit off early on, but thankfully he never got punished for it. It got better later on. Today he played a bit closer to Busquets and Gomes but still doesn’t offer much in the buildup. Helped Sergi to deal with Ronaldo and Marcelo today, defensive work was as good as ever. Subbed off for Iniesta after 60 minutes.
Andre Gomes (6): Better than what he has shown in the past few games but his work mostly was defensive, especially in the first half. Seemed far better when playing with Iniesta, after watching him for a few months I can say that he should never play in a pair with Rakitić, it just doesn’t work. At times he was suspect on the ball but he used Busquets more today and it helped him gain confidence. He did well to stop Isco and Marcelo advancing too much. I don’t get why he was subbed off for Arda out of all people. Umtiti or Denis would’ve made far more sense. The sub cost us 3 points. Happy with how he has shown improvement today, but more consistent performances are needed.
Lionel Messi (7): Had to drop deep for the majority of the first half. Midfield looked disjointed early on and he often dropped back to take the ball and try and make something happen. He was marked well by Madrid today, it has to be said. Usually got past the first man but couldn’t do it all by himself. After Iniesta was subbed on, he could play closer to a goal and he finally got his golden chance after a brilliant pass from the Spanish maestro, but his shot went wide. Usually converts chances like this with ease. Passing has been good, he got others into play. Sadly, he carried too much weight on his shoulders today until Iniesta came on.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Today we saw the same thing we’ve been seeing for weeks now, but thankfully he managed to score after a set piece and finally end his goal drought even though the performance wasn’t the best. He tried to get involved from the start but the decision making wasn’t always good. Apart from the goal, which was taken well after a set piece, he didn’t get into chances today but worked well to apply pressure to Madrid’s backline. Let’s hope this goal will be a difference maker and we’ll be seeing the Uruguayan at his best from now on.
Neymar (5): Great assist today, but that doesn’t make it a good performance. Had an amazing chance to make it 2-0 after doing the hard work, but he put it over the bar. Decision making was average at best. People will say he played well but the amount of times he did nothing productive with the ball is too much in a big game like this. Almost cost us a goal doing half the pitch dribble rather than using a passing option. 2016 hasn’t been the year for him. Inconsistency from time to time is fine but if you’ve been poor for nearly a whole year, there is something wrong. A very average game from the Brazilian, but we’ve been accustomed to this for some time now, 1 assist doesn’t change that.
Andres Iniesta (8): Subbed on for Rakitić and played the last 30 minutes today after recovering from his injury. He was spectacular and made an impact on the game instantly, and Barça looked much better and more compact in midfield as soon as he came on. Did great to set up Neymar and start the move which the Brazilian should’ve finished but missed the target. Soon after that he played the best pass in today’s game to Messi, who usually finishes chances like that with ease but not this time. It’s a shame he wasn’t ready for 90 minutes today because I feel the game would’ve been much different.
Arda Turan: Very poor from the Turk today. Replaced Andre Gomes in the 80th minute and he instantly made a foul after getting subbed on which is not surprising since he does this nearly every game he plays. One of the main reasons we conceded today. Yes, the defending was poor on a set piece but he gave away a needless foul when he didn’t need to. Why Lucho insists on playing him in midfield is beyond me, it has never worked since he signed so it was expected it won’t work now.
Denis Suárez: Came on for Neymar with less than 5 minutes left so it was hard to say how he really did. No idea why he was instructed to play LW when he could easily play RCM better than Arda. He needs to be utilised a lot more because he along with Rafinha are our most useful players that can play RCM, especially with Rakitić going through a bad spell.
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.