opinions | 2017-03-02
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 25 - Barcelona 6:1 Sporting Gijón
Barça with a good day at the Camp Nou as the whole team puts on a shift in a convincing win
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6.5): Had a quiet game, expectedly. On the goal there wasn’t anything to do, errors from Mascherano and Umtiti cost him his clean sheet. However, he did make one/two saves to keep us ahead. Passed well as we have been accustomed to. Not much else to say about his performance, too bad he couldn’t add another cleansheet.
Javier Mascherano (7): Came back from the injury and started as a RCB. Looked a bit shaky early on and had problems with Burgi at times but got more comfortable as the game went on. Passing was great, and his brilliant assist to Messi was a highlight of that. Barely had anything to do in the 2nd second half as the game was already done and Sporting looked poor going forward. Good to see him back from his injury, should help the team a lot in the coming weeks.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5): Rather comfortable for the most part, Sporting didn’t press high so he had time on the ball. Passed very well but on the Gijon goal he should’ve done better. His awareness lacked, everyone was playing as if it was a training match so being somewhat lethargic was expected. Not challenged much defensively all game but needed to help Masche who has struggled v Burgi a lot, especially in the first half. In the 2nd half, he mostly just circulated the ball. Gijon barely made it into the Barça final third. Not much to say but soon he will need some time to recharge after playing so much as of late. Having Mascherano will allow this to happen.
Jordi Alba (6.5): Very solid game. Not pushed up much as he has played as a LCB. Expectedly, he lost his only aerial duel but still managed to defend and pass well as it would be expected from a CB at Barcelona. Very disciplined for the most of the game but when he has got forward his crossing was below par, he did manage to create a chance however. I have no idea if playing him as LCB in bigger games could work but against lesser opposition it could be a viable option, especially since Mathieu is injured. He did far better than what I would’ve expected of him. Kudos to Luis Enrique to improving his defensive capabilities by a massive amount.
Sergio Busquets (7): One of the best players on the pitch today, great to see him bounce back after that poor performance against Atleti. Barça playing with 4 in midfield made his job easier and he was more often on the ball than in previous weeks. He also spent quite a lot of time on opponent’s half which doesn’t happen often.Perhaps should’ve done better on Sporting’s goal, he allowed their striker to run in behind him with ease and couldn’t recover as speed was never really one of his strengths. After that he didn’t really have any trouble defensively. Passed the ball well bar a few misplaced passes.
Ivan Rakitić (7): One of the best games of his season so far. Wasn’t drifting wide and played more centrally while Rafinha covered the right side. Passing was solid, not the best but way better than what we’ve seen earlier this season as he didn’t find himself under pressure that often and had passing options in the middle and going forward. Had a great chance to score in the 2nd half and his shot was great, but Sporting’s GK did well. However, he didn’t have to wait long for another chance and this time he made no mistake. Putting in a solid performance and scoring should help him boost his confidence.
Denis Suárez (6.5): Solid game for him. Very lively, linked well with Neymar and Messi. Passed well it has to be said but didn’t have the biggest influence on the game especially in the first half. 2 chances created, 1 which could’ve resulted in an assist for a Luis Suárez goal. He covered Jordi well when Gijon attacked down his side. His dribbling was good but it could’ve been more efficient, rust is expected however when you don’t play too many games. He played rather well but it's not the best game to come to conclusions from, though Luis Enrique gave him a chance to show what he can do and he didn’t disappoint.
Rafinha (6.5): Started on the right side again and did well for the most part. With Barça playing 3 at the back, he often tracked back to help defensively. Passing was great, completed 97% of his passes. Early on, he had a solid attempt but his curling shot went wide. Should’ve done better on another chance later on, as Messi did most of the work but his finishing was poor. Had 3 shots on goal but none of them on target. Subbed on for Sergi Roberto after 70 minutes.
Lionel Messi (7.5): Great from the start. Played as an attacking midfielder in 3-4-3 formation and got involved early on, he was behind most of the chances Barça created. Combined well with Neymar and Suarez, as well as the midfielders behind him. Opened the scoring with a goal that’s not so typical of him, a great pass from Mascherano and he headed the ball home after Sporting’s GK came out to try and get the ball. Created a few great chances for his teammates in the first half but none were converted. Thankfully, this changed after Paco finished what the Argentine started to make it 4-1. Subbed off after 60 minutes, well deserved rest.
Luis Suárez (7): Solid 45 minutes for the Uruguayan. Great movement after Neymar’s impressive pass, he got past the goalkeeper and perhaps went too wide but found a way to finish the move. Not too sure if the ball was going in without Sporting’s player last touch, but he’ll take it nonetheless. His 2nd goal was perhaps the highlight of the game, wonderful volley inside the box to make it 3-1. Sporting allowed him too much space but despite that, it was a spectacular finish. Combined well with Messi at times but other than his goals he didn’t really contribute much and subbed off at the start of the 2nd half to get some rest.
Neymar (7.5): A lot better than the last game. He saw plenty of the ball. Perhaps the player with the most attempted passes (94). Missed a very easy chance which used to be his bread and butter not too long ago. Was very active though his dribbling was poor. 1/8 take ons is not good at all for a player of his quality. He and Denis were doing really well to break down Gijon’s right side. Managed 3 chances, 1 assist and 1 goal, this was a lot like the his pre-2016 form. If he can perform like this more often then we won’t have any problems in the pursuit of the 3rd Liga title in the last 3 seasons. Really happy with his performance, and for me he was our MOTM.
Paco Alcácer (6.5): Replaced Suárez at the start of the 2nd half and he didn’t wait too long to get on a scoresheet. Messi did most of the work and the Spaniard finished the move to make it 4-1 right at the start of the 2nd half. That was his only shot on goal and he didn’t contribute much later on. Completed all of his 10 attempted passes.
André Gomes: Came on for Messi in the last 30 minutes of the game and did well. Covered the right side of the pitch and passed the ball well. Worth noting the game was basically done at that point and Sporting didn’t press well, but he’s done his job well.
Sergi Roberto: Subbed on for Rafinha in the last 15 minutes and did well on Barça’s last goal of the match, combining well and assisting Rakitić who finished the move inside the box. Passing was solid, and also won 4 of his 5 duels. That assist should help with his confidence as he wasn’t performing well as of late.
José Sánchez Martínez (6): The referee had a very good game it must be said. After what has happened over the last few weeks he managed to avoid any controversial decisions. Very consistent with his bookings but there wasn't too many fouls and the game flowed well so he didn't really have to give many yellows like Lahoz did last week at the Calderon.
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.