opinions | 2017-12-11
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 15 - Villarreal 0:2 Barcelona
Messi equals Müller's record in a tough away win.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (8): One of our best players. Made a great save early on from a from Soriano. This pattern carried on for large parts of the game where they got the better chances but he kept us in front. His passing was as good as it usually is but he shouldn’t be called into so much action near enough every game for a team has boasted lately about a solid defence.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Hasn’t done much going forward but he’s been great defensively. Decision making was poor at times, especially in the 1st half when he kept losing the ball trying to dribble past a couple of Villarreal players. Defensively, he’s done well and Villarreal couldn’t do much down his side. He won most of his duels and had a few important tackles and interceptions.
Gerard Piqué (7): Solid performance, barely put a foot wrong. Got close to scoring early on after a set piece, but his header hit the woodwork. He was composed and passed the ball well even when he was under pressure at times. Won most of his duels and Villarreal didn’t manage to test him a lot going forward.
Thomas Vermaelen (7): Bit shaky early on, but he settled as the game went on. Passing was good but had a few issues defending in the first half, got turned on one play very easy and Villarreal managed to create a decent chance. It helped with the Villarreal player getting sent off but he settled really well and looked composed in the second half. This will be needed for the coming Clasico if Mascherano is still not fit.
Jordi Alba (7.5): Good performance but as per usual he’s been better off the ball especially with his late runs. He got in behind the defence but couldn’t control the ball. After the red card he played a lot better because there was more space and Paco dragged players away from him. He got the ball a lot and all our attacks for the last 30 minutes came down his side. His cutbacks were great and created a lot of danger but other than this he didn’t do too much though this is the best I’ve seen him in a long time in the final third.
Sergio Busquets (8.5): Brilliant performance, he was possibly the best player on the pitch. Had a lot to do in Iniesta’s absence and he didn’t disappoint. Passing was superb, always managed to find options even when it looked like there weren’t any. Defensively, he stopped so many Villarreal attacks and always found himself on the right place at the right time. The way he reads the game is brilliant. Assisted Messi for Barça’s 2nd goal. The only downside is his yellow card, which means he’s one yellow away from suspension with the Clasico coming up in 2 weeks.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Pretty poor in the 1st half, didn’t manage to do anything on the ball. Passing wasn’t bad and he didn’t misplace many but most were just safe, sideways passes as usual. He improved a bit after Villarreal were down to 10 and he had more time and space on the ball, but it was a game to forget and he didn’t do much worth noting. Worked well when needed defensively.
Paulinho (5): Barely able to influence the game in a positive way, at times it was even hard to even notice him on the pitch. Seemed as if we are playing with 10 men for large parts of the game. His second half was quite similar, however the team improved so him having a bad game was not too damaging.
Denis Suárez (6): Decent and was perhaps our only creative spark bar Messi and Busi in the first half. However, he’s took too long on the ball in the final third. He had plenty of time to make the right decision but was hesitant. Passing and dribbling was decent. He was subbed off for Paco after around 50/60 minutes.
Lionel Messi (8): Wasn’t as effective as usual early on, found himself in good positions but his final pass or his shots weren’t always the best, even though he made the right decisions. Almost all of his shots early on hit the side netting, from positions he usually finishes with ease. However, he always looked dangerous and he finally managed to score and seal the deal in the 2nd half in a typical Messi fashion to equal Gerd Muller’s record. He’s had so many great passes to set his teammates up in the 2nd half but all of them were wasted.
Luis Suárez (6.5): His form has started improving in recent weeks and this game was the best example. First half wasn’t the best, he worked well and pressed Villarreal’s back four constantly but found himself in offside positions too often. Hit the post early on in the 2nd half after some great work from Alba. Finally managed to score after a wonderful team move, he dribbled past the keeper and finished with ease. His movement on the goal was great. Here’s hoping we see more of this in the coming weeks.
Paco Alcacer: Made a big impact when he was subbed on. He almost scored with first touch but it was a good save from Asenjo. He played somewhat like a false winger which opened space for Alba to get his crosses in as Alba was always free on the wing with no pressure. Since there were 2 strikers, it pinned their defence back making it easier to attack. He assisted the Suárez goal with a good 1-2. I have to say I did think it was an odd sub but kudos to Valverde, it worked.
Aleix Vidal: Replaced Paulinho with around 15 mins left. Brought some width and energy but I personally didn’t think he was too effective since it was like a dead game by this time, Villarreal couldn’t get out their half. Should’ve had a goal from a Messi assist but it was another good save from Asenjo who kept the score quite respectable.
André Gomes: Subbed on for Busquets in the last 5 minutes of the game. There’s nothing to say as the game was already done at that point and he didn’t do anything worth noting, but it looks like Valverde sees him as a 2nd option in DM position.
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.