opinions | 2017-04-16
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 32 - Barcelona 3:2 Real Sociedad
Messi carries Barça to a difficult home win
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (5.5): Not the best of games for him. Couldn’t do much on either of the goals. It was more on the outfield players than him. Passing was decent for parts but his long passing was pretty poor as Real Sociedad pressed really well and left him with no outlets. Early on in the game, he weathered a storm with some good saves. Though we got dominated in the second half, he didn’t need to make too many saves.
Sergi Roberto (5.5): Started off well, got involved going forward and was quite effective running in behind Real Sociedad’s defence. Later on, he wasn’t much involved going forward and had to focus defensively. However, he didn’t have the best of games in this aspect. Too soft on La Real’s 1st goal, he and Gomes should’ve done better to clear the ball out of the dangerous area. After this, he struggled a lot and Real Sociedad were very active down his side of the pitch, causing him problems and the other players had to help him out to get this much needed win.
Gerard Piqué (5.5): Not the best of defensive performances for him. Barça went back to 4-3-3 and La Real were dangerous out wide. He started off well, making a crucial block which prevented La Real’s early lead. Later on, there was lots of miscommunication between him and the rest of the back 4, which was weird to see. Perhaps on the 2nd goal he could’ve done better, but the blame isn’t entirely on him. The one aspect he really did well at are the aerial duels, he was very strong in the air. Did well in the final stretch of the game when La Real were dangerous. Passing wasn’t as impressive as usual. Managed to complete 7 clearances.
Samuel Umtiti (6): A mixed game for him. Unlucky to have scored a OG and on the second goal he was caught way out of position rather stupidly. I can’t excuse him for that miscalculation. Passing was solid as we are use to and though we defended badly, he was pretty decent, especially if you compare it to how Piqué did. Alba did help him in the second half but was rather useless in supporting him in the first 45 minutes. The next to games will make or break our season, we’ll need him on top form, no room for error. Both games will need him to be a LCB in a 3atb where he seems more comfortable than 4atb.
Jordi Alba (5.5): Pretty useless in the first half. Should’ve done far better on the 2nd La Real goal. Just followed the shadow of Xabi Prieto without any urgency. Could’ve got an early assist but he can’t seem to pass in the final third. Didn’t help Umtiti much in the first half but getting up the pitch to support Paco a lot. He did improve a lot in the second half though, he put in a shift defensively. Surprisingly he won 2 aerial duels and won 3 out of 4 tackles. Lately he’s been getting better in this department but we can see why Lucho dropped him, he’s too inconsistent. For me, he shouldn’t start against Juventus and perhaps Madrid, there is no margin for error and he always has an error in him.
Sergio Busquets (6): Great on the ball, passing was on the usual level, completed 92% of his passes. However, he didn’t have the easiest of games as the midfield again looked disjointed at times, especially in the 2nd half, which meant he didn’t have too many passing options. Defensively, it was a hot and cold performance. Did well in some periods of the game, reading the game well and recovering possession. However, La Real’s players got past him easily at times and he got dispossessed more than usual. This season has been a struggle for him due to Barça’s lack of identity in midfield but he remains very important for this team as we saw in Turin when he couldn’t play.
Ivan Rakitić (5.5): Started off well, early on he was very active on that right side, together with Sergi which was weird to see as that isn’t the case usually. Played some great passes in behind La Real’s defence. However, as the game went on he started struggling under La Real’s press and didn’t do much on the ball later on. Positioned wide yet again, he was helping Sergi defensively but barely saw the ball in the 2nd half. Managed 1 shot on goal after a solid solo run but should’ve passed it to Messi who was wide open. Only completed 1 out of 6 attempted crosses. Solid work defensively in the final stretch of the game to keep all the 3 points at home.
Andre Gomes (5): Poor game, especially on the first La Real goal, he was just too soft as well as Sergi Roberto. That type of defending is inexcusable. Passing was good but a bit slow on the ball and gets the ball fairly infrequently. Could’ve scored to put us 3-0 up but due to confidence he hesitated. Defensively he was fine, winning all his tackles and aerial duels. He was subbed off for Iniesta. Lucho does not know how to use him if he is not playing DM. I have no idea why he insists on instructing him to play the same way nearly every game when it hasn’t worked. He’s been poor all season but it is not all his fault. Lucho’s stubbornness is a big reason for his poor season.
Lionel Messi (8.5): Once again the saviour. Looked fresh early on, passing was amazing, creating chances for his teammates from the get go. Fantastic finish from outside of the box to make it 1-0. Added another one with an easy tap-in after a great team move. He was positioned out wide today in 4-3-3, but he also dropped deep at times, as usual. Great assist for Paco who made it 3-1. In the 2nd half, he didn’t see too much of the ball as Barça struggled in possession and got outplayed. He did however work well defensively when needed to help the team overcome difficult moments. Let’s hope he saved something for Juventus midweek.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Didn’t have too many chances to score but he was involved early on. Assisted Messi’s 1st goal after a solid move. As the game went on, he started to look more and more.isolated up front and was early frustrated at times. Could’ve seen a red card on another day but he got away with it this time. Not much to say about the 2nd half, he barely even saw the ball as Barça were struggling in midfield and La Real applied pressure looking for the equaliser. However, he had a great chance to finish the game off but his shot went straight at Rulli, should’ve done much better on the play. Here’s hoping his finishing will be better midweek.
Paco Alcacer (6.5): Really good game for him, surprisingly. He’s not a winger by any means but still put in a solid performance. Wonderful on the first goal, without his work that goal does not happen. Bagged himself a goal too with a well taken finish after Messi did all the hard work. He didn’t receive the ball too much but when he did we decent with it. Though he was bypassed a lot, the play mostly happened down the opposite side of the pitch. He’s had some upturn of form somehow, the last couple of games have been good for him. But still I’m not convinced that his signing over keeping Munir was a good choice.
Andres Iniesta: Replaced Gomes with 20 odd minutes left. He didn’t get the ball too much truth be told because we were getting dominated badly at this time. However, he did help calm the storm a bit since his wonderful ball retention and ability to win fouls which kind of killed La Real’s momentum. He will be needed very badly in the next 2 games. But the team will need to support him or what happened in Turin will happen again.
Denis Suarez: Replaced Paco with around 10 minutes left. He couldn’t get on the ball much as were getting overrun at home somehow. He failed 2 take ons but you can’t really say too much when he was brought on to waste time and got the ball in bad positions. Lucho won’t play him much more this season so we’ll have to wait till next season to see what he is made of. Could’ve been much more useful than using Gomes in CM spots or filling in as a winger but Lucho chose otherwise.
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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.