opinions | 2017-03-05
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 26 - Barcelona 5:0 Celta
Messi leads the pack as Barça enjoys their best performance in 2017
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Quiet game from the German. Barely had anything to do in the first half because truth be told Celta were not very good compared to other big matches they’ve played this season. Misplaced a few more passes than usual though it was still very little and didn’t prove to be costly at all. Good for him to get another cleansheet under his belt.
Gerard Piqué (7): Defending was good yet again, positioned himself well and solid presence in the air on a rare Celta set piece. Passing was solid as usual, found himself high up the pitch at times and looked comfortable on the ball. Won 8 duels and managed 3 clearances. Did a good job against Guidetti who was basically invisible. In the later stages of the game, he often found himself in the box trying to score, but it wasn’t to be. Celta didn’t cause too much trouble but he defended well when be had to.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Another great game for him. Passed the ball very well and looked good defensively for the most part. He did however make a mistake that could've costed us, luckily it didn't as the Celta player failed to make the most of his poor clearance. Managed to get his first goal for Barcelona, a typical poacher's goal. It is the least he deserves for the performances he has put in this season. He dealt with Aspas with a lot of ease. Now onto the PSG game where we will need a big performance from him and the defence if we are to turn the huge deficit around.
Jordi Alba (6.5): Had a good match. Not involved much in the 1st half but he defended when he had to, since Celta didn’t force him into many defensive actions. His passing was solid too which is not the norm. He looks comfortable playing LCB. We couldn’t judge too much from the Gijon game but he did against Celta show he can play it rather well. Useful in buildup when he plays there. He plays a lot more disciplined in this role and it does help the general play. Props must be given to Lucho for the experiment and execution of this. If he does play against the big guns in this role let’s hope he can perform.
Sergio Busquets (8): Marvelous performance, perhaps the best from him so far this season. Passing was great, although he only attempted 45 passes which is a low number for his standards but he started the moves for Messi’s and Neymar’s goals, respectively. Without the ball, he was brilliant as well. Picked up a yellow card early on but it didn’t affect him much. Recovered the ball 12 times in 60 minutes he played. Wonderful under pressure, managed a few beautiful moves to send Celta players the wrong way and get the crowd going. Had it all in this match, let’s hope he can continue like this in the rest of the season.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Started as a RCM and did well for the most part. On the ball, he hasn’t found himself under pressure too often because Barça played with 4 midfielders and he was able to find passing options. Without the ball, he worked well and dropped back to the right side to help the team defend. Had a brilliant solo move in the 2nd half when he got past a few Celta players, but couldn’t finish it off unfortunately. No doubt this setup manages to bring the best out of him and minimizes his individual mistakes.
Ivan Rakitić (6.5): A very solid game, surprisingly. He was on the ball less than when we play 4-3-3 but he is more decisive and smarter with his passes, having more passing options. He wasn't under pressure too often because of this too. Managed to get another goal, after the one earlier in the week. However, this one should’ve been called for offside. Played on the left side which isn’t something we are used to seeing. One thing that surprised me is that cross field ball that set Rafinha free. He use ld to play these diagonal passes a fair amount but hasn’t in a very long time. Against a tricky Celta team, it was a formidable performance from the Croat. If he can put these sort of performances in week in week out then I have no doubt the season will end well.
Rafinha (7): Solid performance yet again for the Brazilian. Effective on the ball and passing was great, completed 92% of his passes. Without the ball, he worked tirelessly down the right side of the pitch which was needed against a team like Celta. Had a good chance to score in the 1st half and should’ve done better there in all honesty. Managed 3 key passes, one of those was an assist for Rakitić who made it 3-0. The Croatian was offside on the play, but the Brazilian deserved an assist for his performance. Managed a few solid performances in a row and he’s becoming an important player in this setup.
Lionel Messi (9): Breathtaking performance. Looked fresh and motivated and he was on the ball quite often. Wonderful solo run to open the scoring. Celta couldn’t find an answer for him and Neymar combining and running the show in the 1st half. Great assist for the Brazilian who made it 2-0. Continued in the same tone in the 2nd half when he scored another marvelous goal after a solo run. Assisted Umtiti for his first Barça goal. He could’ve easily scored more but he wanted to bring others into play, managed 5 key passes. There’s not much left to say about the Argentine, we are privileged to be able to watch him play every week.
Luis Suárez (6.5): The Uruguayan had a quiet match which is surprising considering how great of a performance this was for the entire team. He did have a brilliant move early on to get past the defenders with ease but his shot hit the post. After that, he didn’t have any chances to score in this match. He did however provide the necessary work without the ball, applying pressure to Celta’s back 4 and forcing them into mistakes. Managed a couple of key passes as well but his teammates couldn’t make the most out of it. Other than that, a very quiet game for the best striker in the world, let’s hope this will change on Wednesday.
Neymar (8): Wonderful game from the Brazilian, a lot like his 2017. In the first half, the way he and Messi combined was breathtaking at times. He also tracked back to help defensively when he had to. The finish for his goal was absolutely wonderful. It confuses me as to how he can pull that off and not score other 1v1’s. He completed 11 take ons, the most that has been completed in 1 Liga game this season. Celta just couldn’t deal with him. We’ll need this version of him if we are to make a comeback against PSG but if he would perform like this against them, I’d be more than happy.
Javier Mascherano: Replaced Busquets in the last 30 minutes of the game. The game was done at that point so there’s not much to say but he passed the ball well, completed 92% of his passes. He also managed a couple of clearances and tackles to stop a rare Celta dangerous move.
Andres Iniesta: Came on in the last 20 minutes or so, replacing Sergi Roberto. It’s clear he still isn’t at his 100% but he did move a bit better and looked more fresh in this game. Passing was solid. Here’s hoping we’ll see him at his best in the coming weeks because the team will need him in crucial games in the rest of the season.
Denis Suarez: Got a little cameo appearance, replacing Neymar with 20 minutes to go. It must be said he did look rather bright. Trying to get the ball as much as possible. He almost got on the scoresheet but his header didn’t have enough power so it was a relatively easy save for Sergio. I’d like to see him play more, perhaps it’d be nice to play him from the start against Depor.
Gil Manzano - Referee (6): The controversial referee had a solid game when it comes to general play, consistent with his decisions and bookings for both sides but he did have 2 big mistakes, together with his assistants. First one was a clear penalty not given to Neymar when the scoreline was 0-0, and the second one was an offside goal from Rakitić in the 2nd half. Luckily for him, this game was one sided for the most part so those mistakes won’t haunt him.
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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.