opinions | 2018-01-19
Player Ratings - Spanish Cup Quarterfinals - Espanyol 1:0 Barcelona
Barça unfortunately slips in a match where they dominated for most of the time.
Jasper Cillessen (7): Didn’t really have one save to make in the first half. His passing was fine but sometimes he took too long to release the ball, allowing Espanyol to get back in shape. He was a bit more busier in the second half, a comfortable save from a dangerous FK. The goal conceded was not much of his fault. Some errors beforehand was the reason for the goal.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Started on the right again and had some good moments but looked a bit reckless defensively at times, late into challenges quite a lot. Got dispossessed on the ball more often than usual, but he was more active than Digne on the left. Won the penalty and also would’ve made Espanyol go down to 10 players had the ref decided to give the 2nd yellow for an obvious push.
Gerard Piqué (7): Better of the 2 CBs on the day considering Vermaelen could’ve done better on the goal. He looked calm and composed, barely put a foot wrong all game even though, truth be told, he wasn’t troubled much by Espanyol. Passing was great yet again, completed 90% of his passes including some great long passes to switch the play.
Thomas Vermaelen (7): Once again good bar his horrible mistake right at the end that cost us the game. He helped in build up well, Espanyol’s press was easily bypassed. Didn’t have much defending to do in the first half but when he had to, he did well. A lot more busier in the second half, he actually defended rather well until the major error that proved costly. It will overshadow his performance but that’s like the first big error he’s done in the 10-12 games he’s played.
Lucas Digne (6): Not great but also not as bad as some others that played. Got up and down the pitch well but was unable to influence the game too much. He barely adds any attacking threat when we are attacking. He keeps it too simple with 1/2 passes and playing the safe option. He had a shout for a pen but to me it wasn't one. There was contact but he was looking for it. Second half was more of the same but he was called into defending more. Not much else can be said about his quiet performance.
Sergio Busquets (7.5): Barça’s best player on the pitch. Looked very sharp from the start, did wonderful under pressure and had some great passes between the lines. Bar Aleñá, he was the only midfielder trying to create. Defensively, he did well. Won most of his duels and found himself on the right place at the right time on most occasions. Didn’t commit a single foul all game.
Paulinho (4): Really useless. Didn’t help much in build up. Too slow when it came to decision making when we were attacking so Espanyol were able to get many men behind the ball. Could’ve still scored 1/2 chances. Passing was alright but nothing special. He doesn’t suit a 3 man MF. Went off early in the second half, let’s hope the injury isn’t too serious.
Carles Aleñá (6.5): Started in midfield and did well. Should’ve seen the ball more often considering he made right decisions whenever he was on it. Completed all of his passes (22/22), one of which was a key pass to Denis who blew a solid opportunity. He got dispossessed a few times but bar Busquets, he was the only midfielder on the pitch trying to create. Received a yellow at the end of the 1st half and got subbed off after 59 minutes. Perhaps the booking was a reason for this sub but I would’ve liked to have seen more of him in this game.
Aleix Vidal (4): Probably the worst player on the pitch. I don’t think he’s done anything worth noting bar some some defensive work and applying pressure off the ball at times. Wasn’t able provide width as he was awful on the ball and Espanyol dealt with him easily. It felt a bit confusing seeing him survive 90 minutes in this game without being subbed off.
Denis Suárez (5): Not a great performance. Good touches here and there, some nice linkup but should’ve put us up 1-0 before HT. Nice idea but awful execution on the shot. Didn’t get dispossessed too much but not causing the Espanyol defence too many problems. This carried on in the second half, nice passing but in deep positions and barely got into areas which caused Espanyol problems. A game to forget.
Lionel Messi (6.5): Had a strong start to the game and looked sharp and dangerous whenever he was on the ball, but finishing wasn’t there even though he had some solid opportunities on the edge of the box. As the game went on, his influence dropped and he’s barely even seen the ball in the 2nd half. To make things worse, he failed to convert a penalty later on. To be fair to him, it was a great save from Diego Lopez and he’s taken worse penalties than that one in his career. With Alba on the bench, he didn’t have anyone to work with on the left as Digne isn’t great going forward. Let’s hope he’ll get his revenge next week.
Ivan Rakitić (5): Replaced Paulinho early in the second half. He wasn’t much better than the Brazilian. Like at the Anoeta, he tried to dribble out of trouble like Busquets does but it backfired. Espanyol got a dangerous FK which was saved. Passing was neat but not of too much danger to Espanyol.
Luis Suárez: Subbed on in the 60th minute with Barça trying to score. He was totally invisible, I can’t even remember if he received the ball once while he was on the pitch. Barça looked rather poor in the 2nd half and he couldn’t get anywhere near the ball.
Rafinha: Replaced Denis late on and had next to no impact on the game. Received the ball really deep and couldn’t have too much influence on the game bar some nice circulation. Good too see him back on the pitch after so long.
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.