opinions | 2016-04-14
Rating the Barcelona players in the defeat vs Atletico Madrid
Individual performances lead to yet another night to forget
Ter Stegen (5): Consistent distribution, helped us play out the back and break out of their pressing. Couldn’t do anything really on the first goal after a poor clearance from Alba and poor marking from Alves. Made some good saves to keep the score at 1-0. Iniesta conceded what was a silly penalty, ter Stegen almost stopped it but it still went in which ended our chances of coming back. Maybe he could’ve done better but it could be considered harsh.
Dani Alves (3.5): Another disappointing performance. The team kept struggling today, couldn’t find the rhythm, dominate in midfield and that meant Alves received the ball on the wing many times and never knew what to do with it. Forced to cross the ball into the box too often because of the way Barça played, and that obviously led to nothing against a team that’s very well organized defensively like Atleti. Defensively didn’t really have much to do, but he left Griezmann with space for the header. Subbed off in the 64th minute.
Gerard Piqué (4.5): Started off well, had to do a decent amount of covering for Alves, and when Atleti broke through he was up to the task. On the goal he couldn’t do much as Alves left his marker (Griezmann) with 3 or so yards of space and he took the goal very well. In the second half he took a more advanced position in order to keep Atleti pinned back and to help our attacks. On the penalty incident was nowhere to be seen as he got caught on the counter.
Javier Mascherano (5): Probably Barça’s best defender today, but that hardly says anything. Great interceptions in the first half, but didn’t have much to do at the back due to Atleti’s setup which is painful because Barça still conceded a cheap goal. Not to be blamed for the result.
Jordi Alba (3): One of the worst players on pitch yet again. Started well but as the game went on, found it hard to cope with Atleti’s players on the right side. Gave the ball away when he had better options, which led to Atleti’s first goal of the match. Going forward, he received many great passes from Messi, but failed to do anything even when he had time and space. Very poor decision making most of the time, which is frustrating to see at this stage.
More worrying signs because Barça doesn’t have any other options on his position.
Sergio Busquets (5): Not one of his best matches. Busi's struggles in the last few games are a clear sign that Barça currently have issues with the system. Circulated the ball well and switched play to his usual standard. However, found no options at times due to Barça’s poor and sloppy movement, and that led to mistakes which usually don’t happen.
Misplaced passes and lost the possession as he had no passing options. The ball was moving too slowly, especially in the first half. However, he was one of Barça’s better players defensively, had a couple of important tackles and interceptions.
Ivan Rakitić (3.5): A bad match by his standards. The ball was moving too slowly and Atleti had no problems stopping Barça, allowing them to only pass it around the midfield area which offered no threat whatsoever. He worked without the ball, but it wasn’t noticeable because Atleti rarely had possession and Barça were forced to try and create something from the areas that weren’t dangerous.
He didn’t make many mistakes individually, but the team as a whole lacked the intensity and couldn’t create much against a well organized team. Subbed off in the 64th minute in a match he’ll want to forget.
Andres Iniesta (6): Arguably our best player for most of the game. Picked the ball up and ran into spaces to try destabilise the Atleti 4-4-2 block, had a few good chances to shoot but didn’t take them well. Helped circulate the ball, but the slow passes and lack of movement condemned the team.
Barcelona were caught on the counter late into the game and he gave away a silly penalty, but for me it was better than giving a goal away. Luckily didn’t get sent off. Unlucky to not win a late penalty against Gabi, but you get some decisions your way and others you don’t.
Lionel Messi (4.5): Another below par game, the theme for the last two weeks. Dropped deep once again to start the plays and we know from previous games it doesn't end well. Played centrally allowing Alves to have more space on the flank, but this was of little help. His over the top through balls were not of their usual quality, even though he still managed the odd one that worked but it wasn’t capitalized by Alba and Neymar. Had half chances to score, but Atleti did well to prevent him clear opportunities. Messi’s form is reason to concern, but there's a possibility he's been carrying a muscular injury since the international break.
Luis Suárez (4): Couldn’t do much today as Barça struggled to get the ball to him. Moved to the right wing occasionally after Messi dropped deep, which was unusual. It was a frustrating match for him because Atleti’s defenders were all over him in the box, and Barça didn’t move the ball quickly enough to get the ball to him. Despite that, he had a great chance in the second half after he shook off Godin inside the box, but his shot went straight to Oblak.
Lucky to stay on the pitch after he elbowed Godin, which was a clear sign of his frustration. The Uruguayan barely had chances to score in the last five games and was easy to defend against, which is a clear sign that the team isn’t in the best shape at this stage of the season.
Neymar (3.5): Dreadful, how many times have we said this since the turn of the year? His poor decision making is the only thing that's been regular since 2016 started. Struggled to get the better of Juanfran unlike the second half in the first leg. Kept losing possession with unnecessary dribbling and showy passes.
The Brazilian hasn't been able to recreate his early 2015/16 performances since the turn of the year. Sought to pick fights more than play football in the second half and this is a common theme when he is not playing well.
Arda Turan (3.5): Subbed on in the 64th minute, but continued in the same tone as he is yet to fully integrate into the team and show his worth. Slow on the ball and didn’t do anything to make a positive impact coming on from the bench. Made a couple of poor decisions when he had better options.
Hard to blame him for today’s match because Barça played poor as a team, but he is yet to show something in Barça’s shirt and that’s a very worrying sign at this stage.
Sergi Roberto (4): Came on in the 64th minute and played in Atleti's half because by this time Atleti were pinned back into their box. Coming on allowed Arda to play higher up since his defensive work rate isn’t as good as Rakitić’s. Sergi was able to take the ball out wide which helped us stretch their defence better and create better chances.
Still, Atleti allowed him a lot of space on the right side which he did make use of far more than Alves. On the second goal he was caught far too up the pitch and couldn’t do anything to prevent the penalty. Better than Alves.
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.