opinions | 2018-02-02
Player Ratings - Spanish Cup Semifinals - Barcelona 1:0 Valencia
Umtiti reigns as the king of the back line as Suárez scores an important goal
Jasper Cillessen (7): Not sure he had to make a save in the first half. Valencia maybe reached the box twice in 45 mins.It was more of the same in the second half, Valencia just didn’t want to attack much other than when he rushed out of his box which looked like a bad decision but recovered incredibly to prevent a goal.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Great performance defensively. Dealt with Andreas Pereira with ease and won most of his duels. Had a nasty challenge in the 1st half but luckily got away with just a yellow card. Moved well going forward and received the ball quite often out wide but wasn’t able to do much as Valencia defended really well and sat deep.
Gerard Piqué (7): Didn’t have much to do defensively as Valencia sat deep and defended all game but he’s done well whenever they managed to break through on a counter. Had a couple of important interceptions. Passing was great as usual, completed 96% of his passes.
Samuel Umtiti (9): Didn’t have much defending to do but early on he made a bad decision which led to a VCF corner. Since then he’s been positioned near the halfway line for most of the half recovering possession when VCF tried breaking. The second half was even better. Valencia came out their shells a bit and he dealt with everything they tried. Broke up all their attacks and barely gave any of their attackers a chance. His game could be summed up with how he sent the Valencia player into the advertising boards with a shoulder to shoulder barge. Utter dominance.
Jordi Alba (7): Had little defending to do for most of the game. Passing the final third been off since it has been packed centrally so it made it pretty hard for him to get the right pass off. He’s been positioned really high and has done really well to win back possession in the final third. His game was mostly like this but he saw a lot of the ball as Valencia defended very narrow. He played well but in the final third we could’ve seen more.
Sergio Busquets (7.5): Got back into the line-up after missing the Liga game for the weekend and had a good performance. His passing kept the team ticking. Barça controlled the match throughout and he was at the heart of it all. Done well off the ball, always on the right place at the right time as usual and won most of his duels. Valverde has done a great job with him and Rakitić playing close to each other and interchanging positions this season.
Ivan Rakitić (7): Another solid performance for the Croatian international. Passing was good and he put on a solid shift defensively off the ball, applying pressure and winning the ball back. However, he didn’t manage to do much going forward in the final third, and crosses were the weakest part of his performance, he attempted many and I don’t think he found his teammates once. Good game for him nonetheless, Valverde has managed to make him important for the team again. Subbed off after 68 minutes.
Andres Iniesta (8): Great like most games he’s played this season. Unable to create chances since VCF have defended really deep and well. On the ball he’s been brilliant, passing well and going past players with a lot of ease. He could’ve got an assist for his cutback but Jaume got a slight touch which took it away from Suárez for a tap in. More of the same in the second half, he controlled the game really well. Although this wasn’t one of his best games this season it is still hard to describe how good he was, he doesn’t do too many spectacular things but everything he does is the correct decision.
Aleix Vidal (6): Received a lot of the ball but not able to do much with it. Like Alba he’s unable to pick his man out in the final third. His role of bringing width and runs in behind haven’t been too useful as Valencia still played very narrow but other than this he’s not really done much wrong. He’s just not too effective. It was more of the same in the second half and he was replaced with Coutinho.
Lionel Messi (8): Struggled in the final third at times but was once again a crucial player in many ways. Valencia defended pretty well against him and he was always surrounded by a few players whenever he received the ball. Managed 8 dribbles and had a couple of great passes. His work on Barça’s goal was incredible. Dribbled around a couple of players and delivered a perfect cross for Suárez. Worked really hard off the ball and looked a bit tired lazer on in the 2nd half. He could use some rest soon, let’s hope results won’t suffer if it happens.
Luis Suárez (7): Managed to receive the ball quite a lot in the 1st half but he was always surrounded by Valencia players and it was often in the areas where he isn’t really dangerous, far from the goal. Sloppy on the ball at times but this was expected from him receiving the ball in wide areas. Managed a few solid passes throughout the game. Scored from the only great chance he had, Messi has done a lot on the goal but the finish wasn’t easy and he placed it perfectly. Worked well off the ball.
Philippe Coutinho: Played decently. Other than his shot that was saved by Jaume, he didn’t do anything amazing. He kept it simple and didn’t do anything stupid which could’ve backfired. It will be great to see more of him in the coming weeks.
Paulinho: Replaced Rakitić in the last 20 minutes of the game and he didn’t do much. However, I could understand him coming on in a game like this with the opponent sitting deep and he could’ve potentially made a difference as he is a solid goalscoring threat, which he showed this season. Unfortunately, he didn’t find himself in any chances in the final third and offered nothing in other areas while he was on the pitch.
Paco Alcácer: Replaced Iniesta and didn’t do too much either but a lethal shot that was tipped over by Jaume. He looks to still have the confidence pre-injury but will still need more game time to get rid of the rust.
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.