opinions | 2016-03-20
Rating the Barcelona players vs Villarreal
A performance to forget, but one that keeps the unbeaten streak alive and increases the distance from Atleti
Claudio Bravo (6): Made a vital save 40 seconds in the game after some poor defending from Pique and Alba. Rather busy today compared to the last couple of weeks. Distribution was a bit hit and miss. Couldn’t do much on the 2 goals Villarreal scored, maybe could’ve reacted quicker on the second one but that's a bit harsh. Answered most that's asked of him, one of the best performers for Barcelona today as collectively the whole team was poor.
Sergi Roberto (5.5): The youngster was one of Barça’s better players against Villarreal. Started as right back position and had a decent performance in the first half, great positioning, especially defensively. Didn’t make many mistakes and won the ball back for his team many times. Moved to midfield in the second half after Dani Alves replaced Arda Turan, but didn’t have as much impact on the game as in the first half, more errors started creeping into his game as Barça lost control of the game. Sergi’s best contribution to Barça’s team comes when he’s playing as right back.
Gerard Piqué (6): Started the game in a bad way after Bakambu got past him and created a chance for Villarreal in the 1st minute, and then received a harsh, undeserved yellow card for handball in the 16th minute. More comfortable in the rest of the 1st half, but Luis Enrique decided not to risk and replaced him with Mathieu in the 55th minute. This wasn’t one of Pique’s best games, but the second half showed how important he is for the team as Barça looked weak throughout the second half after he was subbed off.
Javier Mascherano (7): Passing rather crisp, didn't make many mistakes defensively and covered for Alba well. Again he took no risks during the period Villarreal were the stronger team in the second half. Still showing the good form lately, this is the best he has been all season and he was by far our best player today, even if he could’ve done better on the first goal.
Jordi Alba (4.5): Got involved going forward in the first half, often received the ball in attacking positions and combined well with his teammates until the last third of the pitch, where his poor decision making was noticeable once again. Didn’t look great defensively and had problems defending Villarreal’s players in wide areas. Received a yellow card at the start of the second half for a foul on Soldado. Once again average, as he continued with his poor form against Villarreal and is struggling to get back to his last season’s form.
Sergio Busquets (6): It wasn’t the best from Barça’s most consistent midfielder this season. His passing wasn’t as crisp as in previous games as the team struggled to perform on it’s usual level, especially in the second half. However, his contribution in defensive phase was still noticeable at times, as he kept recovering the possession for his team with intelligent positioning.
Ivan Rakitić (6.5): Early on he pressed Bruno Soriano really well outside the Villarreal box, but his shot was rather bad. Keeping the balance in midfield really well. Well positioned for his goal. Completed 55 out of his 59 passes (93%), and did well to cover for Alves’ sloppiness when he came on. Although the midfield was unbalanced when Arda came off, he didn’t have too much of a problem holding the right side down unlike Sergi Roberto who had massive problems as the Villarreal attacks came mostly down the Barcelona left. Over the past few games, his form has been getting better and this is one of the few positives we can take from this game, going into the most important part of the season.
Arda Turan (6): More of the same from him today. Yet to fully adapt to Lucho’s system, Arda kept losing the possession a bit too much and was easily dispossessed at times, but because of him Barça had control of the game, and that changed after he was subbed off. Decent defensively in the first half, but received a harsh yellow card early on and had to be careful throughout the rest of the game. His improvement in defensive phase is noticeable, but he is yet to show his best quality going forward, something that was expected, as he was replacing the injured Iniesta. Left in 56th minute.
Lionel Messi (6): Not involved as much he should’ve early on, but when he did, caused trouble to Villarreal’s defence. Decided to move centrally after 30 mins to get involved in the play more and looked more threatening. Amazing pass for the penalty that shouldn’t have been given. Finished the first half much stronger. In the second half, created some problems for the Villarreal defence but these were far and few between, due to the lack of control in the midfield and also because Villarreal were the stronger team in the second half.
Luis Suárez (5): Being one yellow card away from the suspension meant that Uruguayan striker had to be careful not to receive the card today ahead of El Clásico, and it was clear throughout the game. He wasn’t pressing the defensive line of the opponent as much as he usual. Didn’t receive many passes and wasn’t involved, often losing the possession to Villarreal’s defenders who had a great game. Not the best from the best striker in the world. The only positive thing to take from this game is that he didn’t receive the yellow card.
Neymar (6.5): A bit off early on, but won the free kick for the Rakitić’s goal, but other than that he was quiet for the first 25 minutes by his standards. Great run to get to Messi’s great pass, well taken penalty which is rather surprising due to the penalty record as of late, but the penalty shouldn’t have been given. Poor second half from MSN, but he was the most promising out of the 3. Neymar could’ve had another goal after a wonderful run but his shot was stopped by Asenjo. Attacked well and his dribbling was strong as per usual when given the chance, but it wasn’t one of his best games, sometimes he held onto the ball for too long and also the lacked support due to the midfield struggles.
Jeremy Mathieu (3): Replacing Piqué in the second half, the French international had a horrible game. Minutes after he came on, he didn’t mark Bakambu after Denis Suarez’s shot and Villarreal scored. Later on scored an own goal after the corner to make it 2-2. Didn’t look comfortable and Mascherano often had to do a lot in the second half to cover for his mistakes.
Dani Alves (4): Coming on in 56th minute and replacing Sergi Roberto, who was moved to midfield, Dani disappointed today on his natural position. He was caught too high up the pitch at times and didn’t look as comfortable defensively as Sergi Roberto did. Going forward, didn’t make any impact on the game as his crossing was lacking.
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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.