opinions | 2018-01-30
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 21 - Barcelona 2:1 Alavés
Barça grabs a last gasp win after a troublesome first half
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Done well. Maybe he should’ve done more on the goal but he saved us early in the match otherwise this could’ve been a lot worse than it was by the end of the first half. His passing was good.
Nélson Semedo (6): Started on the right but didn’t manage to do much. He passed the ball well but most were safe passes to Coutinho who was positioned very close to him on the pitch. Only managed to get in behind Alaves once or twice but final pass wasn’t the best. Defensively he’s done well for the most part but caught too far up the pitch at times when Alaves were on the counter. Replaced by Sergi early in the 2nd half.
Gerard Piqué (6): Had a shaky start to the game, passing wasn’t as good as usual and he made more mistakes under pressure than he’s used to. Got better as the game went on, had a crucial block early in the 2nd half after a great counter attack from Alaves. Didn’t have too much to do defensively but he’ll have to stay more focused throughout games, this has been a problem for him this season.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5): Had somewhat of a mixed game. For most of it he was good and didn’t do much wrong but on the goal he was caught too far up the pitch and was unable to recover. He also got quite lucky late on with a handball call. I’ve seen them given but the shot was from point blank although his hand was out. Other than this he defended decently and passed well. Needs to be more concentrated when we have sustained possession.
Lucas Digne (3): Woeful. Arguably our worst player in the first half. He barely did much right, in the final third he was near useless and offered nothing that would be of any threat to Alaves. He was subbed off at HT for Jordi Alba.
Ivan Rakitić (7): Started in Busquets’ place and was one of the better performers. Passed the ball well, except for a few long passes here and there. He’s had a very strong game defensively, managed 6 interceptions and won most of his duels. Didn’t pose much threat to opponent’s goal given his role in this game. It’s impossible to replace Busquets due to his importance to the team but he does his best whenever he plays there and rarely disappoints.
Paulinho (4): Another player who was woeful along with Digne but unlike others didn’t get substituted. I struggle to recall much he did right. Quite often when he had the ball, he was slow to make decisions. Many loose touches all over the pitch. He had a massive chance to bring us back into the game before we came back but he fluffed his lines in a chance which seemed harder to miss than score. One of his worst matches for us and that’s saying a lot since he’s had some poor games.
Andres Iniesta (8): One of our better players in what was a subpar performance. He was like the only midfielder that was able to penetrate the Alaves MF through the center. His passing was as we expected, quite precise. The work for the equaliser was wonderful. Weaving past 2/3 players before a wonderful cross to the far post for the goal. I have no doubt that the comeback would not be possible without him on the pitch.
Philippe Coutinho (6.5): The Brazilian started on the right and had a mixed game. He was solid on the ball at times and combined well with his teammates but it was clear he didn’t feel too comfortable playing on the right. Had a solid chance to score in the 1st half but his shot got blocked. I would’ve liked him positioned more centrally and thought he was positioned too wide. Subbed off after 66 minutes. Looked better in his debut than he did against Alaves but it will take some time for him to adapt and for Valverde to find the best possible way to use him.
Lionel Messi (7): Solid start, found himself in good positions but his final touches and passes weren’t as good as usual. As the game went on, his influence dropped and he didn’t see too much of the ball which was very odd given the fact Barça were chasing the result. Hit the woodwork with a great free-kick, which was a warning for Alaves. Final passes weren’t great but still managed to create a great chance for Suárez who couldn’t finish. Scored the winner with a well taken free-kick late in the game. Not the best of the performances for his standards but still scored a vital goal in his 200th Liga game at the Camp Nou.
Luis Suárez (6.5): Didn’t do much early on in the game, Barça struggled to create chances and he drifted wide quite often to try and get involved. First real chance of the game came in the 2nd half after a great pass from Messi, but the Alaves GK did well. Scored the equaliser with a great volley after some solid work and a cross by Iniesta on the left. Got lucky as the ref didn’t seem to notice him kicking Duarte off the ball, which could’ve been a red card. He really needs to get rid of things like this from his game.
Jordi Alba (7): Replaced Digne at HT and had an instant impact. One of our better players. We had more width of the left side and were actually dangerous from wide positions, some chances he did waste but we looked far more likely to get back into the game with him on the pitch. He’s just so much better than Digne and we see the massive hole he leaves when he isn’t playing as our options there aren’t good enough.
Sergi Roberto (7): Replaced Semedo early in the 2nd half. Brought a bit of stability and provided a spark and width needed to turn the game around. Done well defensively. Didn’t do too much on the ball in the final third but passing was solid and his clever movement made the difference. Barça looked much more dangerous on the right when he was on the pitch.
Paco Alcácer: Replaced Coutinho in the 66th minute. Didn’t see too much of the ball but won a free-kick that led to Messi’s winner, even though it shouldn’t have been given because he was clearly offside. Could’ve also had an assist to his name but Messi couldn’t finish a counter attack at the end.
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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.