opinions | 2017-09-10
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 3 - Barcelona 5:0 Espanyol
Messi leads the way as Dembélé makes his debut
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Not had much to do in terms of saving bar an odd save here and there. Late on in the first half, the post saved him from what would’ve been an undeserving goal for Espanyol. Passing been good and been used a lot since Espanyol have pressed high. In the second half, Espanyol’s pressing decreased a lot and he got a lot more time on the ball. His pass to André Gomes on the Suárez goal was crucial. Great game from the German and his 3rd clean sheet this campaign.
Nelson Semedo (7): Another solid display. Great under pressure and barely put a foot wrong all game. Defensively, he had a good game and Espanyol couldn’t do much down his side. Going forward his acceleration and quickness created problems for Espanyol quite a few times even though it looked like he can do even better with more confidence. Passed the ball well. Here’s hoping he starts against Juventus.
Gerard Piqué (7): Passing has been a bit off at the start and he misplaced a couple, but got better as the game went on. Had a few great clearances and tackles and it was a pretty solid display overall defensively, except for the one poor clearance when the ball got to Espanyol’s player on the edge off the box, but his shot hit the post. Solid presence in the air as usual, scored his first goal of the season in the 2nd half.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Played rather good but in the first half had difficulties finding the right pass when Espanyol pressed high. Not had too much work defensively but handled Batistao pretty well. Midway through the second half, he made a vital block to stop the visitors getting back into the game. Other than this he wasn’t challenged to do too much defensively. His passing did improve as Espanyol’s intensity dropped.
Jordi Alba (7.5): One of his better games in recent months. Bar the odd bad decision and cutback here and there, he was great. Lucky assist but he has caused Espanyol problems on the left. It is a bit challenging for him to man the whole left side but he’s done well. His 2nd assist to Messi was relatively similar with a good cutback. You can see that he is playing a lot better under Valverde than he has done the past year or so. Let’s hope this positive trend of performances carries on.
Sergio Busquets (7): Not too much involved in the build-up which was weird to see, only attempted 49 passes which is a low number for him. However, it was a strong performance on the ball, he was toying with Espanyol players under pressure with ease and always made right decisions. He only really made one mistake worth noting, misplacing a pass and then having to stop Espanyol’s counter, receiving a yellow card. Subbed off late on in the 2nd half.
Ivan Rakitić (7.5): His best performance in a while. He was very good on the ball, surprisingly. Great pass to Messi on the 1st goal even though the replay showed the Argentine was offside, but we aren’t used to seeing this kind of passes from him. Soon after that, he combined wonderfully with Messi again but Pau López did well to stop his shot. Put in a solid shift defensively as well, recovered possession quite a few times.
Andres Iniesta (6.5): Quiet game, started bright however. On the ball, Espanyol couldn’t get him off it. Kept the ball moving at a good tempo and kept the team ticking. He wasn’t forced to defend too much as in recent times, though he could’ve help a bit more in build up when we struggled to beat the Espanyol press. He was later subbed off as he needed some rest after playing 180 minutes with Spain. Let’s hope he has it in his legs to play against Juventus this coming week.
Gerard Deulofeu (6.5): Movement has been rather good though this is always the case but his decision making let him down somewhat. There were some bright sparks here and there but he needs to add consistency to his game. His work with Semedo on the right flank was really nice it has to be said. He’ll get better with time but there is still a long way for him to go.
Lionel Messi (9): Another MOTM performance. Simply brilliant from start to finish, looked very fresh and motivated. First goal was offside, but it’s still incredible how easy he made it look. He received the ball in dangerous areas and looked dangerous whenever he received the ball. Did well to pressure Espanyol without the ball. Completed his first hat-trick of the season in the 2nd half. Promising start to the season, he seems to be playing higher up the pitch and occupying positions where he can hurt opponents the most.
Luis Suárez (6.5): Drifted wide to the left quite often, as the plan was to stretch the play and allow Messi to receive the ball in dangerous areas in the middle, similar to the role David Villa had in his Barça spell. He combined well with Alba on the left at times. Had his moments in front of the goal yet again, but finally managed to score late on after a great pass from Dembélé. This new role looks interesting, here’s hoping this goal will bring back his confidence in front of the goal.
Paulinho: Replaced Busquets in the last 15 minutes to make his Camp.Nou debut. There’s not much to note on his performance as the game was already done at that point, but he did come close to scoring after a brilliant pass from Suárez, his shot went wide. Passed the ball well for the most part.
André Gomes: Replaced Iniesta with around 15 minutes left and played rather decent. He played a key role in the Suárez goal as he played Dembélé though who then set up Suárez. He worked hard to win possession back and took the odd risk here and there.
Ousmane Dembélé: Making his Barcelona debut, the Frenchman registered his first assist in Blaugrana colours. He looked nervous on the ball at times but made no mistake on the Suárez goal. We’ll no doubt see more of him in the coming weeks.
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.