opinions | 2018-02-09
Player Ratings - Spanish Cup Semifinals - Valencia 0:2 Barcelona
Coutinho scores his first goal as Barça breaks another record, reaching their 5th consecutive Spanish Cup final
Jasper Cillessen (8): For most of the game he didn’t have much to do. Only notable chances VCF got were Rodrigo’s header off the bar and a shot he comfortably saved. They didn’t trouble him much. Second half was largely similar except for an outrageous save from point blank. I have no idea how he saved it. It was something you see in handball. Another clean sheet for the Dutchman and on his way to his 2nd Copa title.
Sergi Roberto (6.5): Solid performance defensively. Kept Gaya and Vietto quiet for the most part of the game. Going forward, he wasn’t much involved, especially in the final third. Didn’t attempt a single cross. Not the best communication with Gomes on that right side but he passed the ball well.
Gerard Piqué (8): Decided to take a risk and play in this game despite taking a serious knock in the Espanyol game a few days ago. Considering that, he played well. Looked shaky and didn’t look like he was fit early on at times but he got better as the game went on and was the leader at the back. Managed 9 clearances. Passing was solid. Subbed off with 10 minutes to go, here’s hoping his injury, didn’t get any worse but fair play for taking a risk in what he felt was an important game.
Samuel Umtiti (7): Had some shaky moments in the first half, Piqué has had to save him on a few occasions. On the ball was fine but he made more mistakes defensively than usual. In the second half he improved a lot but it still wasn’t his usual performance. As usual his passing and counter pressing was great. Zaza and Vietto caused him little threat as the game went on.
Jordi Alba (7): Got caught up the pitch a lot but didn’t lead to many VCF chances. On the ball he was good and didn’t make mistakes like he has been prone too every now and then. He took a nasty hit in the first 10 seconds from Zaza. His width in the final third has been useful but we’re unable to use it to its full capacity until the second half. He started getting more space in the final third and was able to do more with it and didn’t have to do as much defensive work. Another good game from in a difficult stadium.
Sergio Busquets (8): Brilliant, as usual. Controlled the tempo of the game with ease, completed 105 passes (96% accuracy). Always had passing options and he made sure to take advantage of that as Barça dominated in the middle of the pitch. Off the ball, he was great. Always on the right place at the right time, won the ball back cleanly so many times. Fantastic under pressure and didn’t put a foot wrong all game.
Ivan Rakitić (8): Another great performance. Solid on the ball, passing was brilliant, completed 97% of his passes. It’s so refreshing seeing him play like this and being useful in possession, which is completely opposite of his last 2 years when he was barely used in the build-up. Worked well off the ball and helped defensively on a lot of occasions. Had a few decent chances to get on the scoresheet before he finally made it 2-0 in the 82nd minute. He became consistent this season and not many expected him to play on this level. All credit to Valverde for finding a role in which he could be crucial for the team again.
Andres Iniesta (9): Absolutely brilliant. Controlling the game with a lot of ease. Passing really well and should’ve got an assist but Suárez got his feet tangled up. VCF struggled when he got the ball, especially Coquelin. When he gets the ball you know something good will happen and it was no different at the Mestalla. His defensive game will go underrated again but he managed so many ball recoveries deep in our half. He was subbed off for Paulinho with 20 mins to go. Another masterful game from the maestro.
André Gomes (4): Started off well but his performance dipped a lot. Started making wrong decisions, not closing down quick enough. Passing was fine but he’s just not suited to the wide role. His first half was summed up by Messi opting to go into traffic rather than passing to him in acres of space. Twice. He was subbed off at HT for Coutinho.
Lionel Messi (7.5): Very active early on. Dribbling past Valencia players with ease, getting into good positions on the ball and constantly taking on defenders. Thanks to Barça’s control in the middle of the pitch, he received the ball a lot but Valencia defended deep and managed to stop him from getting into goalscoring chances. As the game went on, he started looking tired but thankfully Barça finished most of the job at this point. Worked a lot off the ball, along with Suárez, which set the tone for the entire team. He could use some rest of the weekend.
Luis Suárez (8): Yet again a crucial player in an important game. Set the tone early and worked tirelessly off the ball, constantly applying pressure on Valencia’s backline. Didn’t have too many chances to score, could’ve had one early on but his first touch on Iniesta’s pass was poor. Brilliant move on Barça’s 1st goal, dribbled past the defender with ease and found Coutinho with a beautiful cross. His work off the ball resulted in another Barça goal, took it off Valencia’s defender and passed to Rakitić who made it 2-0. Looks to be at his best at the moment, let’s hope this lasts until the end of the season.
Philippe Coutinho (7): Replaced André Gomes at HT and made an instant impact. He finally got his first goal for Barcelona. Wonderful work from Suárez but the finish was not easy. He was a bit in and out during the second half but it’s not an easy place to play in. He linked up play well and didn’t overplay which has done in the past. It seems likely that he’ll win his first trophies with Barcelona really soon.
Paulinho: It was bizarre bringing him on and he didn’t offer much at all rather made the game unbalanced. His poor passing and decisions gave Valencia some chances. Luckily it didn’t amount to anything. Bringing him off the bench is fine but not for Iniesta.
Yerry Mina: The Colombian defender made his debut in a Barça shirt, replacing Piqué with 10 minutes left on the clock. Didn’t have to do much but he made one sloppy headed pass which wasn’t punished. Other than that, he did well and looked comfortable, strong in the air. With Piqué likely to miss the Getafe game, he has a good chance of starting that 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.