opinions | 2018-02-06
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 22 - Espanyol 1:1 Barcelona
Piqué shuts up Espanyol in a match marked by a swamp pitch and unsporting conduct
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6.5): Solid. Not much he could do on Espanyol’s goal, poor defending from Piqué and a shit from close range, he managed to get a touch on the ball but that was all he could do. Wasn’t used much in the build-up due to the flooded pitch.
Nélson Semedo (6.5): Involved early on, received the ball quite a lot and passed well for the most part. Positioned high on the pitch and didn’t have to do much defensively as Barça controlled the game well and had most of the possession. As the game went on, his influence dropped. Subbed off for Sergi after 59 minutes.
Gerard Piqué (6.5): Once again a mixed game for him. Was good in during some parts of the game and poor in others. Should’ve been booked in the 1st half after a couple of challenges but got away with it. Poor defending on Espanyol’s goal, should’ve done much better. Nonetheless, he still had a couple of important interventions at the back. Scored a header after a set piece to make it 1-1.
Samuel Umtiti (7.5): Rock solid at the back, as usual. Won all of his duels and barely put a foot wrong all game regardless of the state of the pitch, which was terrible. Passed well out the back and was always composed on the ball. Managed a few crucial clearances.
Lucas Digne (6): Solid defensively but not so much going forward. Received the ball in good areas but didn’t manage to do a lot with it. It always looks like he isn’t on the same wavelength as his teammates. Passing wasn’t the best, misplaced some easy ones but it’s not surprising given the state of the pitch. Crossing could’ve been better. Subbed off after 75 minutes and it was confirmed after the game he has fractured a finger on his right hand. Here’s hoping he recovers quickly.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): Played well early on, passing was great as usual and he helped the team control the tempo of the game. However, as the game went on and the pitch got worse, it was impossible to play the game to his strengths and it was quite clear he struggled and even got dispossessed more than usual. Helped defensively, even though he picked up a yellow card in the 1st half.
Paulinho (6): Not good enough in possession, didn’t offer anything on the ball and was the least active Barça midfielder on the pitch. However, he pressed well without the ball and won most of his duels. Mostly passed to a player next to him and wasn’t creative. Played the entire 90 minutes as he could’ve help in set-pieces, because that was the only way to score given how poor the pitch was. Should be used as a substitute, he isn’t showing he’s good enough to start regularly.
Andrés Iniesta (8.5): The best player on the pitch. It was amazing seeing him play like that on a flooded pitch. It felt like the conditions affected everyone except him. He kept dribbling past Espanyol players and making the difference while the others were clearly struggling to adapt. Passing was fantastic and he also worked well off the ball. Completed 8 out of 9 attempted dribbles.
Philippe Coutinho (7.5): Solid performance for the Brazilian. He was everywhere early on, taking on the defenders and combining well with his teammates. Almost scored with a wonderful curling shot from outside the box but the ball hit the bar. It would’ve been a memorable first goal in a Barça shirt. Passing was good, managed 3 key passes and created some solid opportunities. His influence dropped a bit later on in the game but showed good signs and had a positive performance.
Paco Alcácer (5.5): Almost anonymous in this game. He got involved early on and the best moment for him came when he crossed the ball to Suárez who didn’t catch it cleanly. Completely invisible as the game went on, especially in the 2nd half. Subbed off after 60 minutes.
Luis Suárez (6): Not the best of the performances for him but he couldn’t do much as Barça struggled on the flooded pitch of Cornella. He didn’t find himself in any clear chances, managed to get a few shots on goal from difficult positions but it was an easy job for Diego Lopez. A game he’ll easily forget.
Lionel Messi: Started on the bench and came on in the last 30 minutes of the game. He didn’t see too much of the ball as Barça couldn’t play to their strengths. Only completed 3 passes in 30 minutes which is the best example of how difficult it was to play. Still managed to assist Piqué for the equaliser after a well taken set-piece.
Sergi Roberto: Replaced Semedo in the 60th minute. Tried getting involved going forward but it was impossible to make a difference on the ball given the conditions of the pitch. Done well defensively when his reaction was needed.
Jordi Alba: Subbed on for the last 15 minutes of the game. Didn’t manage to do anything as the game was a complete mess at this point. Misplaced a few passes which isn’t surprising knowing he came on late in the game and didn’t have time to adapt to terrible conditions.
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.