opinions | 2017-05-01
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 35 - Espanyol 0:3 Barcelona
Messi leads the way as Suárez gets back to his scoring ways
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Had a rather comfortable game. Espanyol only had one major chance early on and they put it wide. After that they struggled to get anywhere near our box bar from set pieces. His passing was relatively good though he had to play long more often than he would’ve liked and his long passing wasn’t too good it has to be said. Espanyol have a major height advantage. He picked up his 13th Liga clean sheet, a nice early birthday present.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Solid performance. Picked up a knock 2 minutes in and it looked like he wouldn’t be able to continue but turned out not to be serious. Passing was great, completed 96% of his passes. Solid defensively, Espanyol didn’t pose any threat down his side whatsoever, even though it has to be said they were poor all around. Managed 2 interceptions and 2 tackles. Didn’t do much in dangerous positions going forward. Moved to the middle of the pitch for a while after Mascherano was subbed on.
Gerard Piqué (7): Looked a bit shaky at the start, allowed too much time and space to Caicedo to pass the ball to Jurado for a clear chance early on. Got better as the game went on, fantastic in the air, won almost every duel and passes the ball with ease out the back, completing 96% of his passes. Managed 6 clearances and 3 tackles, he was rock solid defensively in the 2nd half even though Espanyol were rather poor going forward.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Had a wonderful game. His passing was great as we know, it helped that Espanyol didn’t press him well at all. He isn’t the tallest CB but he did wonderful in the air. Winning 4 out of his 6 aerial duels especially against Caicedo who is really strong in the air. Espanyol didn’t really pose much threat to him bar that early chance where he was caught out of position. This has happened a few times lately but I’m sure he’ll fix this small problem for next season.
Jordi Alba (6): Had a relatively decent game. Operated mostly in the Espanyol half of the pitch. He wasn’t needed too much defensively as Espanyol looked to get the ball straight to Caicedo, he did manage 3 tackles however. He did create 1 chance which I fail to recall. Doesn’t just randomly play crosses into the box as of late which is a good sign. He is on good form but truth be told, I would’ve preferred him to be on this good form earlier in the season, perhaps during March and early April.
Sergio Busquets (7.5): Another amazing performance for him. Had no trouble dealing with Espanyol’s pressing, always chose the right decision and didn’t put a foot wrong, finding himself on the right place at the right time all game long. Won 13 out of 19 duels and managed 5 tackles. Passing was great, even when he didn’t have too many passing options, he managed to find solutions and linked up well with Messi. Espanyol players were chasing his shadow all game long. Fantastic run of form for him as of late, let’s hope he keeps it going.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Poor start and didn’t impress in the 1st half. Couldn’t do anything when he was on the ball and positioned too wide again. Passing wasn’t the best, lost possession too many times and didn’t do well under pressure. However, he did a solid job defensively on the right side, helped keep Piatti and Caicedo quiet. Scored Barça’s 2nd goal after a brilliant run by Messi, timed his run well on the move and finished with ease. That’s one thing he adds to the team, solid goalscorer from that midfield role. Wasn’t impressive in this match but hopefully he’ll get back to his best.
André Gomes (7): Played around 70 minutes. His inclusion was odd, starting Denis would’ve been better I felt. Perhaps Lucho wanted a bigger physical presence. Nonetheless, he played rather well which was surprising because his weakest midfield position is LCM. He looked far more comfortable on the ball, taking more risks with his passing. Which I doubt would’ve been the case if he didn’t have a great game against Osasuna. Aerially he was superb, winning 5 of his 6 duels. He did however, play some wayward passes and get caught in possession but from what we have seen this season of him. The last 2 games have been positive.
Lionel Messi (7.5): Great performance yet again for the best in the world. Espanyol did a good job trying to isolate him in the 1st half, he was always surrounded with a few of players when he was on the ball. Even with that considered, he managed to create a great chance and looked dangerous. Second half was much better, Espanyol couldn’t keep their focus defending him for the entire 90 minutes and he started receiving passes in dangerous positions. Wonderful run and an assist for Rakitić for Barça’s 2nd goal. He kept creating but didn’t have too many chances to score himself, Diego Lopez did well whenever he hit the target.
Luis Suárez (6.5): Terrible 1st half, highlighted by awful decision making. Decided to pass when he was 1 vs 1. with the keeper and had a great chance in the 1st half. Granted, the linesman’s flag was up even though he was onside but I couldn’t understand his decision to pass there. Looked isolated early on, the ball rarely came to him. Second half was much better, great movement after Jurado’s terrible pass and he made it 0-1 after receiving a gift from Espanyol. Scored another one after yet another mistake defensively from Espanyol. Those were his only shots on goal so he was at least this time. Not the greatest of performances but he scored important goals for Barça to keep title hopes alive.
Neymar (6.5): Came back after his 3 game suspension. Played good for parts of the game and bad for other parts. In front of goal, he was somewhat wasteful. He got into good positions but didn’t make most of it. In the final third, he was somewhat wasteful, he managed to get himself into good positions but didn’t make the right decisions after this. He attempted a lot of take ons as he got the ball often, but he did lose the ball more than he should’ve. Having him back is good however, as Paco doesn’t offer too much threat in wide areas expectedly so.
Javier Mascherano: Replaced Gomes with around 15-20 minutes left. He slotted into right back with Sergi Roberto going into midfield. He didn’t see much of the ball as we were dominant by this point in the game. He’s a good 3rd CB choice but I don’t see him being much more than this since Umtiti has been phenomenal.
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.