opinions | 2016-08-29
Rating the Barça players after the win at San Mamés
A hard earned victory in one of La Liga's toughest away matches
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Fantastic ball distribution to break Athletic’s pressing. Made a mistake early on but his confidence never dropped as he kept passing the ball with ease. One of the most important players today. Did well to save a couple of great shots on target from Athletic Club.
Sergi Roberto (7): Continues to impress. Great defensively and he was involved going forward, combined well with Rakitić and Messi on the right side. Always had an answer for Athletic’s pressing, passed the ball well and was key in the build-up.
Gerard Piqué (6.5): Fantastic under pressure. Defensively, did well whenever he had to react with a couple of important clearances. Great in the air and his partnership with Umtiti looked solid throughout the game.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5): Started off a bit shaky as Iñaki was causing problems down the right wing, picked up a yellow card early on for handball. Looked more into it later on and his passing in the build up from the back was crucial. Solid in the air and did well to stop Aduriz today. Subbed off in the 71st minute.
Jordi Alba (6.5): Solid performance all round. Iñaki also caused him problems at the start but he responded and did great defensively. Not as involved going forward but the decision making could’ve been better at times. Passing was good, even when Athletic were pressing.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): A few mistakes at the start as Athletic applied pressure immediately, but calm on the ball when needed and choosing the best option most of the time. Involved in Barça’s goal and defensively he wasn’t troubled much as Rakitić and Denis worked well without the ball.
Ivan Rakitić (8): Fantastic from start to finish. Early on he was Barça’s best player on the pitch, always choosing the best option and his passing was brilliant. Finished off a great Barça move with a header, after a cross from Arda to win the match. Continued in the same tone after that and combined well with Messi and Sergi, his work-rate was great.
Denis Suárez (6.5): Had a good chance to score early on, but his shot went over the bar. This didn’t affect his confidence as he orchestrated the midfield and competently passed the ball for the majority of the game. Good understanding with his teammates and defensively did well without the ball as he usually does. Subbed off in the 71st minute.
Lionel Messi (7): Excellent performance from the start. Dropping deep, creating for his teammates with a brilliant pass for Arda at the end of the 1st half, but the Turk couldn’t finish it off. Had a couple of great chances to score but his finishing wasn’t sharp today, just like the rest of the team. Created another clear chance for Suárez right at the end. Solid.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Did well without the ball by pressing. Movement was good as he put himself in many chances to score, but had a nightmare in front of the goal all game long. On any other day he would’ve finished with a brace or even a hat-trick, but the Uruguayan had a bad day. A game to forget, luckily Barça didn’t need his goals today to earn 3 points.
Arda Turan (7): Started as a winger again and didn’t disappoint. Passing could’ve been better, but he was involved and worked excellently without the ball. Assisted for Barça’s only goal with a brilliant cross to Rakitić, who finished off a fantastic move from Barça. Could’ve scored at the end of the first half after a great pass by Messi, but his shot was poor. He’s been performing much better as winger and will be important for Barça this season.
Javier Mascherano: Replaced Umtiti in the last 20 minutes of the game after coming back from his injury, his long passes were great once again. Solid defensively and continued where Umtiti left off.
André Gomes: Played for about 20 minutes today, replacing Denis. It’s clear he’s still trying to adapt to his new team and he looked slow at times, but it’s nothing unusual as it’s still an early stage of the season.
Rafinha: Replaced Arda in the 85th minute and took his place on the left wing. There isn’t much to note from his time on the pitch, but it’s good to see him back with the team and no doubt he’ll be useful for the rest of the season.
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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.