opinions | 2016-05-16
Rating the Barcelona players in the win vs Granada
The squad completed a fine comeback after April's slump and were rewarded with the league title
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6): Granada didn’t pose much of a threat to his goal. Passing been good as per usual bar one misplaced pass which almost led to a Granada chance. In the first half he collected a couple of crosses from poor freekicks. That’s really all his first half consisted of. In the second half he made a wonderful 1 vs 1 save which could’ve brought Granada back into the game Later into the second half he was beaten by a Granada shot but the ball hit the post and rolled out, luckily for Marc and Barcelona. He should be getting more game time next season, and should be our first choice goalkeeper without taking anything away from how good Bravo has been for us this season.
Dani Alves (7): One of the best players on the pitch, he did wonderfully well to get to a long ball by Mascherano and set up Suárez for his and Barcelona’s 2nd goal of the day. Managed to complete 80% of his tackles, most of which were in the Granada half of the pitch, which is very common since he plays so high on the right flank regardless of opponent.
Late into the second half he was caught off position from a Granada counterattack, but luckily ter Stegen came to the rescue after having nothing to do for most of the 2nd half. He once again slightly lacked in terms of final balls in the final third, but delivered when it has mattered as shown against Arsenal and today. In recent weeks he has picked up his form, let’s hope he can be more consistent if he stays next season.
Gerard Piqué (6): Solid from start to finish. With Barça dominating the game from first minute he passed and build from the first moment. Granada were poor going forward and the only way they could score was from set pieces, but he was the first to react on almost every cross and positioned himself well. With little to no threat from Granada, he often played high up the pitch.
The first great chance for Barça came after he found himself in the box, but his header went straight into Granada’s goalkeeper. The opponents improved in the second half, but he was up for the task. Completed 7 clearances and won every duel (5 out of 5), highlighting his great display in defence. Arguably our most consistent defender in what has been another successful season for the Blaugrana side.
Javier Mascherano (6): A wonderful pass in the build up to the second goal, comfortable defending as he completed all of his tackles and won all of his aerial duels, which doesn’t happen too often since he has a major height disadvantage. Didn’t have too much work to do defensively since Granada sat back and tried to counter attack, but failed to have more than 2/3 counter attacks all game.
One thing that I was really impressed with was the flick on from one of our first corners which Piqué almost scored from. Would’ve been a wonderful assist to Piqué, but the save was equally as good. Subbed off with 15 mins to go after suffering an injury, but it has been reported he will be ready for the cup final next Sunday. Our best defender in the second half of the season. I have been very critical of him, but he has stepped up when we needed him the most.
Jordi Alba (6): More of the same, pleased to see him improve in the most important stage of the season. No silly mistakes at the back that used to cost us before and going forward, he combined well with Neymar on the left side as they both looked solid and very involved in the game yesterday. The first goal highlights that, with Neymar’s great pass and Jordi’s smart movement inside the box to avoid the offside trap and pass it to Suárez, who had an easy job to finish the move. That was his 6th assist of the season, more than any other defender.
Second half was quiet, as Barça was just finishing the job and the victory was never in question. It wasn’t the best season for him, but him like most of his teammates, stepped up in the last few La Liga games. He needs to have competition as a starter and it could chance change in the Summer.
Sergio Busquets (6.5): A nice performance as usual, he wasn't pressed and could build up comfortably. Received a harsh yellow card early on in the game which meant he had to be careful for the rest of the match, but didn’t have any problems, as that was the only foul he made. With Iniesta having a great game and Rakitić’s usual work-rate, he had it easier both defensively and in possession. Barcelona’s most consistent midfielder in what has been the best season in his career.
Ivan Rakitić (6): Worked his socks off throughout the game, a crucial player in Lucho’s system and someone who offers the balance we need, which was evident in this match. With Messi playing deeper and Dani deep into the opponent's half, he often found himself on wider positions covering for both without the ball.
He wasn’t afraid to take on Granada players whenever he had a chance with the ball at his feet, and he completed an unusual 3 dribbles. Defensive contribution and work-rate was as good as usual, something we are already used from him. Subbed off in the 79th minute and went on to celebrate another well earned title with the rest of his teammates after he game.
Andres Iniesta (7): A great game from the Maestro. How many times have we said this season? Today it seemed as if he was back to his early season form before his injury. The minor accuracy issues he had a few games back has completely disappeared, as he only misplaced 4 passes. He dribbled past the Granada players as if they weren’t even there, twisted and turned players with ease, all of his attempted take ons were successful.
A wonderful season bar a dip in a few games during April, like the whole team. He seems much more well rounded and more influential than last season. Just like wine, he gets better with age, it's a matter of watching and no looking at stats.
Lionel Messi (8): Started on the midfield from start, something that doesn’t surprise us anymore. With Suárez’s current form, he knows the best way to help the team is with his passing and Granada match wasn’t different. Got involved in the match from the first minute and it didn’t take long for him to create a great chance for his teammates with an astonishing pass for Neymar, but the Brazilian had a bad touch and Granada’s defence reacted well. Soon after that, he had a chance to score himself but his shot from the edge of the box was stopped well by Granada’s goalkeeper.
He looked fresh, creating danger almost every time he was in possession of the ball. It wasn’t the best match in his life in terms of efficiency, but it seemed like he had his fingerprints over everything Barça created. Another fantastic pass from him found Neymar in the box, who passed to Suárez for the hattrick. Had a chance to score near the end of the match after a great unselfish move from Neymar but the ball went just wide. Carried his team to another title, but this time in a different fashion as Suárez was the one who scored the most, but Messi’s role and influence was equally important in another Blaugrana triumph.
Luis Suárez (8.5): Yet again a fantastic match for him to finish La Liga season on a high note. Scored with his first chance after a great play from Neymar and Alba on the left side. The pressure was off at that point and Barça could continue dominate the match with ease. Soon after that he had another chance after Messi’s pass, he did well to round the keeper but went wide and couldn’t finish it off. But he didn’t wait long to score again, Dani Alves’ fantastic run and a pass found him in the box to double Barça’s lead at the end of the first half.
Had a serene second half, but his incredible work-rate without the ball is another aspect to admire about his game. He finally completed his hat-trick in the 82nd minute with an easy tap-in, after a great and unselfish play from Messi and Neymar. The best striker in the world finished his La Liga season with an astonishing record of 40 goals scored, winning both the league and the Pichichi award.
Neymar (7): One of his better games in 2016, on the end of some very nasty fouls especially early on. It was reported that he felt some pain whilst warming up which could’ve been the reason for this tactic (if you can call it that) from Granada. His confidence is coming back, you can see this as he is taking on more players than what he was a month ago.
Managed an assist when he unselfishly squared it to Suárez for his hattrick. On that play, his movement reminiscent of his pre-January form. The decision making is getting better each game, and it was shown today when he played it through to Alba who set up Suárez for the opener. He had an outstanding first half of the season, which helped us win the league and after a slump in 2016 we hope that next season he manages to be more consistent.
Jeremy Mathieu: Played for 15 minutes after Mascherano went off injured. An odd season for the Frenchman, with many ups and downs. It is more than likely he will stay, hopefully he can be a valuable asset to the squad next season.
Arda Turan: Replaced Rakitić in the 79th minute. Completed all of his 5 passes and did well defensively in those 10 minutes he played, even though Granada were poor. It wasn’t the best season for him, he didn’t adapt well to Lucho’s system yet, often failing to contribute when coming off the bench.
Sergi Roberto: Replaced Busquets in the 88th minute. Proved himself as a valuable asset in Lucho’s system this season, playing in different positions and he was probably the most valuable player in rotation, something completely unexpected coming into this season. There’s no doubt that Lucho will count on him to do the same next 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.