opinions | 2017-05-07
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 36 - Barcelona 4:1 Villarreal
Messi, Neymar and Suárez shine to dispatch a resilient Villarreal
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (5.5): Had a rather shaky game, it has to be said. His passing was more than fine but he did seem to have instances where he and Piqué miscommunicated. Nonetheless, the goal conceded wasn’t much to the fault of his but perhaps he should’ve made himself bigger. Bar the goal, Villarreal didn’t really get many chances at goal so he had a relatively quiet game.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Solid performance. Much more involved going forward than earlier this season. Wonderful pass to Suárez which started the move leading to Barça’s 1st goal. He was positioned higher up the pitch than usual. Defensively, he didn’t have to do much as Villarreal didn’t do too much down his side except for the opening minutes of the game when he was busy defensively and also picked up a yellow card. Great run to start the counter leading to Barça’s 3rd goal. This is something he does well, as shown at the Bernabeu. Subbed off after 78 minutes.
Gerard Piqué (6.5): Started off a bit shaky, couldn’t catch Bakambu on his run when Villarreal equalised but that was terrible defending from Barça collectively and not down to him entirely. As the game went on, he was looking better. Great passing to start building out the back, completed 93% of his passes, including 11 of 12 long passes he attempted. Managed 4 clearances and 5 interceptions. He had a great chance to score in the 1dt half after Messi’s cross but his header from short distance went wide. This is something that could’ve been better this season, his finishing in front of the goal hasn’t been the best even though he had a solid season individually.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Had another solid game for the most part. He did start off a bit shaky though with Bakambu getting the better of him a few times but he settled pretty quickly after that. On the goal he was caught out of position and Piqué was never going to catch Bakambu. His passing was fine for a lot of the game. After the goal, he wasn’t really called into much defensive work as we upped the tempo and took control of the game very well. His ability to play vertical passes efficiently helped us get behind the 4 man midfield pretty well. Another big game, another top performance from him.
Lucas Digne (6.5): Played a really good game, he manned the left flank really well. Completed 100% of his tackles, aerial duels, clearances and interceptions. I didn’t expect him to be so good defensively against a strong team but he showed he can step up when needed. His passing for the most part was solid and he did manage to create a chance on goal. He was subbed off for Alba midway through the second half, odd sub it must be said but maybe he sustained an injury in the game.
Sergio Busquets (7): Continued with his brilliant form. Passing was great as he had lots of passing options with Iniesta playing closer to him and Messi dropping deep. Completed 93% of his passes. That Messi goal to make it 2-1 actually counts as his assist even though Messi did most of the work. His only mistake came in the 1st half when he misplaced one pass in a dangerous zone but luckily Villarreal couldn’t punish him. Solid defensively, finding himself on the right positions at the right time, which is something we say for him every game. Fantastic under pressure once again, even when Villarreal pressed high. He’s back to his absolute best in the last few months and it’s a joy to watch him play.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Started on the right side of the midfield again and wasn’t much involved going forward but passed the ball well. He was positioned closer to the rest of the midfield this time as Sergi was higher up the pitch. Decision making wasn’t the best and got dispossessed quite easily at times but did well off the ball, managed 3 interceptions and worked well. Couldn’t continue his good goalscoring run as he didn’t find himself in chances to score in this match. Subbed off after 83 minutes.
Andres Iniesta (7): Great game for him. He didn’t do anything spectacular but he controlled the game really well which has been a problem for a lot of the season. Attempted 98 passes, normally this is something you’d see from our CB’s. At every opportunity players looked to pass to him or Busquets. Defensively sound though he didn’t really need to help going back too much since we had a good hold of the game for the most part. He managed to create one chance. It is good to see him performing at a very good level these past few weeks. Only if he didn’t get injured earlier in the season, perhaps it could’ve changed our season a lot.
Lionel Messi (8): Best player on the pitch once again. He was involved from the start and look dangerous whenever he was on the ball. Completed 91% of his passes which is impressive considering how much risk he takes with his passes as he tends to create something out of nothing. Nice pass to Neymar who made it 1-0. Wonderful move to get past few Villarreal players, his shot took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net to make it 2-1 right at the end of the 1st half. Continued in the same tone in the 2nd half, combined well with Neymar and took a shot but Villarreal GK did well. Great panenka finish from the penalty spot to make it 4-1.
Luis Suárez (6.5): Looked a bit isolated at the start, only managed 1 shot and he got dispossessed easily at times. Great pass to Messi to start the move for Barça’s 1st goal. He worked well without the ball as usual. 2nd half was more eventful for him, made it 3-1 after Sergi started the counter, he got rid of the defender easily and finished the move. That was his only shot in target. Later on, the ball came to him in the box after a brilliant sombrero skill from Neymar and the Villarreal defender touched the ball with his hand trying to stop his shot. Messi converted the penalty to make it 4-1. Good to see him on the scoresheet once again, he wasn’t consistent this season but has a chance to finish this season on a high.
Neymar (6.5): Had a mixed game. In periods he was absolutely brilliant and other periods he was 2016 Neymar. He managed to get on the scoresheet early on which he hasn’t managed too much this season. He also did create 2 chances but at times he was wasteful on the ball. He tried too much like he did in 2016. Defensively he was sound, winning 4/5 tackles, this is a norm for him these days. The skill he did to fool Gaspar before the penalty was given was sublime. Stuff like that he needs to do more often. Effective and efficient skill is wonderful to watch. He just needs to work on when to make certain decisions and his finishing but other than that his game is fine and has been for the majority of 2017.
Jordi Alba: Replaced Digne with around 20 minutes left. Completed all his 17 passes. He didn’t have too much to do as by the time he came on the game was near enough done. It was odd that he has started as a sub in both games against Villarreal.
Javier Mascherano: Subbed on for Sergi Roberto with 15 minutes to go. There’s not much to say, he completed all of his 6 passes and managed 3 tackles. It will be interesting to see if he starts on that right side with Sergi missing the next game due to suspension.
André Gomes: Replaced Rakitić with less than 10 minutes left in the game. The game was already done at that point and there isn’t much to say. He completed all of his 9 attempted passes and won all of his duels.
Referee Jose Sanchez Martinez (6): Had a pretty good game. Managed to control the game unlike in some previous Barcelona games. The penalty he awarded Barça was pretty harsh truth be told, for me it wasn't a penalty. He did also give Jaume a yellow for that which was even more baffling. He gave out yellow cards consistently and didn't try to take centre stage in a big game.
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.