opinions | 2016-09-18
Rating the Barcelona players after the win vs Leganés
A memorable performance by the MSN and the back line led to victory
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7): Got the ball more than most outfield players as Leganes pressed high and became essential against the press, even if at times his distribution wasn’t the best as he had no passing options. Made a brilliant save to stop Leganés getting a hand back into the game.
On the goal he couldn’t do much in a rather comfortable game for the German. Sad that he couldn’t get a clean sheet on his 50th game for Barcelona, but a good match nonetheless.
Javier Mascherano (5.5): Didn’t have the best start to the game and Leganes often managed to do the damage down the right wing, poor in the first half as he struggled in the three man defence, but Piqué and Umtiti did well to cover for him in numerous occasions.
More comfortable as the game went on, especially with his passes. Had a couple of important tackles and interceptions later on but should be doing much better if he wants to compete for the starting spot.
Gerard Piqué (7): Another great performance playing in the heart of Barça’s defence today. Had to cover for Mascherano early on and he was solid defensively all game long. Did well to build from the back at times to break Leganes’ pressing. His long passes were superb.
Samuel Umtiti (7.5): Started off shaky since Leganes attacked enthusiastically. Became more comfortable on the ball later on, allowing us to build from the back. Along with ter Stegen, he made a wonderful block to stop Leganes levelling it, similar to what Puyol would do.
Later into the game he started taking too much time on the ball and losing it. This was because of the lack of passing options as Leganes man marked our players high up the pitch. Very impressive performance nonetheless, every game he is showing why he should be Piqué’s main partner.
Rafinha (7.5): Started as a right sided midfielder and delivered sharp passing and combined well with his teammates, especially Messi. Had a strong performance defensively, tracking back as well, often getting the ball back to Barça’s possession. Scored a brilliant goal, his first of the season and Barça’s 5th.
Ivan Rakitić (6): In Busquets’ absence, had to play deeper and focus more on defensive aspect of the game and managed to do it. Great at intercepting and winning the ball back to his team, with fine passing, bar a couple early on. Subbed off in the second half.
Andres Iniesta (6.5): Slow start to the game like most of the team. Got into it as spaces started opening up and Leganes started tiring. His dribbling was key to break past the Leganes press, same for his work defensively, which was exceptional, arriving in the box to clear the ball. After half time, his job became easier and he wasn’t pinned back trying to help the buildup. Replaced by Denis Suarez around the 65th minute mark.
Jordi Alba (6): His work today was better defensively than in the final third of the pitch. Started off as on the left of the midfield in the 3-4-3 but struggled and couldn’t help in the build up. Made key tackles which we are not used to seeing.
Wasteful in the final third, took far too much time on the ball which allowed the Leganes players to get back into position. Passing was hit and miss. His positioning at times was not good as it caused Umtiti to lose the ball since he didn’t offer himself as an option.
Lionel Messi (9): Another man of the match performance. Dropped deeper, constantly creating danger with his passes. Opened the scoring after a great counter attack and Suárez assist. Soon after that he returned the favor after dribbling past Leganes players with ease. Scored his second after converting a penalty. Not active later on in the match as the game was already decided, but it was another amazing display from him.
Luis Suárez (8): Great from start to finish, involved in the game from first minute, often drifting to wide positions. Did great to start the counter and assist to Messi for Barça’s first goal. Soon after that he scored after Messi’s brilliant solo run and then recorded another assist, this time to Neymar. Passing was great, and the highlight of that was his pass to Neymar which led to a penalty. Another top performance.
Neymar (8): Wonderful. The first 20 minutes was much like the rest of the team but soon came came to life. There has been a sharp improvement in his decision making as of late. Today like against Celtic, he didn’t dribble for the sake of it, wisely attacking the Leganes right back and beating his constantly.
Later on, he was on the end of some rough tackles, it led to him eventually winning a penalty as the Leganes defenders losing their cool. Needs to carry on performing like this, especially in the crucial part of the season. The signs have are positive.
Arda Turan (6): Replaced Rakitić in the second half. Sharp passing and he contributed well defensively, which is good to see. Played as a central midfielder, which is his weakest position and the game was already done at that point, not much to say.
Denis Suárez: Replaced Andres after 65 minutes when the game was done, didn’t have much to do or impress, helping a few times defensively but wasn’t able to offer much in the attacking half. Maybe he is just going through a small dip in form but let's hope we can see more of what he showed during preseason.
Paco Alcacer: Subbed in the second half, replacing Suárez. Took up good positions even though he wasn’t involved much, more like waiting for his chance in the box. The chance finally came after Messi’s shot was saved and he managed to score, but his first goal for Barça was denied by the linesman.
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.