opinions | 2017-12-26
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 17 - Real Madrid 0: 3 Barcelona
Messi leads the way as Barcelona conquers the Bernabéu for the third consecutive time
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7.5): Another game, another clean sheet. Early on he had some work to do as we started poorly. As the game went on he had far less to do but that save from Bale’s shot at 2-0 up was crucial in keeping the momentum in our favor. His passing was very good for large parts of the game. Now a well deserved rest for the best GK in the world so far this season.
Sergi Roberto (7): Hasn’t had the best start to the game but definitely made up for it later on in the 2nd half. Looked a bit shaky defensively in the 1st half, Piqué had to cover for him on numerous occasions. Showed quality on the ball later on, brilliant assist for Suárez who made it 1-0. Very intelligent with his movement and had a couple of dangerous runs. He should get a chance in midfield when Semedo fully adapts.
Gerard Piqué (8): One of the best players on the pitch. Fantastic in the 1st half, kept Barça in the game on numerous occasions as the team looked shaky early on. Madrid have found so much space but he was somehow able to defend it. Great presence in the air as well. Passing has been solid as usual. Managed 7 clearances, which is a season high for him.
Thomas Vermaelen (7): Another good game from the Belgian after a bit of a shaky start, expectedly. Early on he picked up a yellow and had to do a bit more defending that he would’ve liked to. As the game went on he improved, much like the team did in the game. Benzema and Ronaldo struggled to get anything from him even though he was walking a tightrope with the yellow card. He exceeded my expectations of him in the 4 games he’s played lately. Let’s hope this carries on as the loss of Umtiti has been rather minimal with him playing this well.
Jordi Alba (7): Had a very good game which for me is surprising since he always seems to struggle in the Clasico. He was very assured on the ball for the most part. He wasn’t called on too much defensively as most of RM’s attacks went down Sergi’s side. Managed 3 interceptions which was the most from any player on the pitch. His improvement this season has impressed me a lot.
Sergio Busquets (7): Quite poor in the 1st half for his high standards. Kovačić marked him well and he wasn’t able to receive the ball and get the team going. Got dispossessed more than usual. Second half was a different story, he looked like Busquets we know, calm and composed and as Madrid dropped deeper and haven’t pressed as much, he found it easier to do what he does the best. Absolutely brilliant on Barça’s 1st goal, what he does under pressure is sublime. Worked well without the ball.
Ivan Rakitić (6.5): Didn’t do anything in the 1st half, very poor under pressure whenever Madrid pressed high. Got better later on in the game, great run on Barça’s 1st goal. A lot of it was down to Busquets and Messi on that move, but his run and a well timed pass to Sergi is worth the praise. He found more space to run into in the 2nd half and looked much more dangerous but decision making wasn’t always the best.
Andres Iniesta (8): Had a really bad opening 30 minutes. He lost the ball carelessly and couldn’t complete many passes. RM neutralised him well it has to be said but after this his influence started growing in the game. Managed to complete all his dribbles, 2 interceptions and 4 clearances. It may go unnoticed but he did put in a shift defensively. Modrić had a lot trouble dealing with him, I barely think he won a duel v Iniesta from 30 minutes onwards. Subbed off for Semedo after 77 minutes.
Paulinho (6.5): Had a mixed game. Early on he was abysmal but RM were so good early on. Even when they were on top, he could’ve scored 2 goals in the first half. Being honest, he should’ve really scored the first chance after an amazing pass from Messi and some great movement from the Brazilian. His work off the ball was great, he stopped RM building up as they would’ve liked to and this gave us the advantage as the game went on. He was replaced with 6 mins left for Gomes. The Brazilian has been getting some plaudits but for me his use is better when he’s not on the ball. His pressing and movement is very very good.
Lionel Messi (9): Once more he made Bernabeu his playground. Hasn’t received the ball as much as he’d like in the 1st half but looked dangerous whenever he was on it. Brilliant pass to Paulinho who should’ve scored the opener. Played a huge part in Barça’s 1st goal without even touching the ball as Kovačić was too afraid to leave him open, which resulted in Rakitić getting a free run. Started the move leading to a penalty and a red card, passing it to Suárez twice. Converted the penalty with ease. Finally managed an assist at the end, when Vidal made it 3-0. He could’ve had 3 assists on the day, easily. Unlike others, he speaks on the pitch.
Luis Suárez (7): Looked isolated in the 1st half, even though he was trying really hard and pressing Madrid’s backline, there wasn’t much he could do. 2nd half brought the best of him, could’ve done better on some occasions but scored the crucial opener. Should’ve scored another one when Messi set him up twice but his misses eventually led to a penalty. He’s looked much sharper and more fit in the last couple of weeks compared to the start of the season.
Nélson Semedo: Came on for Andres with 15 or so minutes left, he slotted into RB and Sergi moved into MF. He could’ve got on the scoresheet after Messi put him through on goal but he dragged his shot wide. Other than this he didn’t really do too much, he roughly got 1 touch per minute he was on. Let’s hope he can regain Valverde’s trust in the next half of the season because he is a very good player going through a rough patch.
André Gomes: Subbed on for Paulinho with 5 minutes left. He completed all of his passes but due to his slow decision making, he missed a simple play which could’ve led to us scoring again. Not much else can be said because 5 minutes is barely anything to make an impact.
Aleix Vidal: Replaced Sergi Roberto in injury time and scored Barça’s 3rd of the match. He played for exactly a minute but managed to do something he’ll probably remember forever. Hopefully this goal will boost his confidence a bit.
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.