opinions | 2017-10-22
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 9 - Barcelona 2:0 Malaga
Barça struggles more than expected in a dull contest against the 20th place team
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Not even sure he touched the ball with his hands once in that first half. Passing good though, a misplaced pass here and there when pressed well. Second half was somewhat similar, though he actually had to use his hands. Made one crucial save but other than this he was a bystander.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Started as a RB and didn’t manage to create much going forward. Passed the ball well but it wasn’t too hard given Malaga’s setup and not many of those passes made a difference against low block. Didn’t have much to do defensively. Moved to midfield later on in the 2nd half and looked much better, managed to create a great chance but Suárez somehow missed it. Shouldn’t be playing as a fullback anymore, should be given more chances in midfield.
Javier Mascherano (7): Strong performance. Malaga didn’t do too much going forward but even when they did manage to break and force Barça into mistakes, he was there to save the day with his last ditch tackles. Passed the ball well. Passed the ball welly started the move for Iniesta’s goal. Doesn’t play often nowadays but he’s mostly reliable when he does against weaker opposition and that’s a good thing to have.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Circulated the ball well, didn’t really have to do too much defending but was solid when he has had to. It’s was relatively easy for him as we had near enough 80% of the possession. He almost got an assist for a Messi goal but he was correctly judged offside. He’ll need a rest real soon because he’s played a lot but our CB depth is too thin currently.
Lucas Digne (6): Good work on the first goal though the ball was out of play and shouldn’t have counted. His ability to cutback is poor, could’ve easily got another assist by 15 minutes. He never seems to look up when he crosses so he never knows who is in the box or not. Defensively he’s been alright but not great, a few times he’s been beaten quite easily. His passing has been good but he takes no risks with the ball, it’s always just a simple pass back to Umtiti or Iniesta, he doesn’t ever attempt to beat a player.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): Solid game for him even though he wasn’t as involved in the build-up as usual. Only attempted 43 passes which is a really low amount for his standards. Did well defensively, won most of his duels and read the game well. Replaced by Paulinho later on in the 2nd half.
Ivan Rakitić (5): More of the same from him. Played too safe and didn’t create much. His sideways and backwards passing is becoming really painful to watch. Had a couple of chances to start dangerous moves with a pass between the lines but he decided to pass backwards which even annoyed Messi. Didn’t make too many mistakes but that’s because there’s no risk involved in his game. The only thing worth mentioning was his great pass to Messi in the 2nd half which led to nothing eventually. It’s time for him to see the bench for some time.
Andres Iniesta (8): Top performance. His passing was really good, both long and short passing, it got Deulofeu into quite a few 1v1 situations. Malaga had trouble getting the ball off him therefore fouling a lot, luckily he didn’t get injured from their reckless tackles. He’s created some chances but we didn’t do too much with them. He managed to get on the scoresheet with the help of a deflection but it was a crucial goal. Let’s hope he’s given rest now or he’ll be burnt out real soon.
Gerard Deulofeu (6.5): Good improvisation on his goal. He’s been slipping awfully a lot not even sure why even though the conditions were different to Olympiacos game but has got plenty of 1v1’s which he should’ve made better use of. Passing was alright but not really attempted too many crosses unlike against Olympiacos. His influence decreased as the second half went on and then he was replaced by Semedo with 20 minutes left.
Lionel Messi (7): Started off slow and barely seen the ball in the first 20 minutes, but got more into it as the game went on. Him combining with Iniesta in this game reminded us of the good old days. Didn’t have too many chances to score, only had 1 shot on target and Malaga’s keeper did well. Passing was great for the most part, he was behind almost everything we created. Well taken assist for Iniesta in the 2nd half.
Luis Suárez (4): Carbon copy of almost every game this season, wasteful in front of the goal and poor on the ball. He actually started the game well but got worse as the game went on. The first chance came early in the 2nd half when he did well to lose the player marking him but couldn’t finish. The biggest miss came later on though, as Sergi played him on and the only thing he had to do was tap it into the net but he somehow missed the target from 5 yards out. Subbed off soon after that. It’s hard to understand what’s going on with him at the moment.
Nélson Semedo: Replaced Deulofeu with 20 minutes left. This meant Sergi pushed forward and we changed to a 4-4-2. Unsurprisingly our level improved when he was on the pitch and we created more. I don’t understand why he gets unnecessarily rested whereas Iniesta and Umtiti aren’t given any breaks. However, it’s always good to see Semedo, Iniesta and Umtiti playing at a high level, they’ll all be crucial if we are to have a successful season.
Paulinho: Replaced Busquets in the last 15 minutes of the game. Came close to scoring yet again, his impact off the bench could be very useful for the team as he is a constant goalscoring threat. Passing was fine, he once again combined well with Messi while he was on the pitch. Not an ideal midfielder for Barcelona, but at least he’s playing with a lot of confidence which is good to see.
Paco Alcácer: Subbed on for Suárez with 7 minutes left in the game. There’s absolutely nothing to note but he should be given more chances considering how poor Suárez has been, there’s no way he could do worse.
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.