opinions | 2017-02-27
Player Ratings - La Liga Round 24 - Atletico Madrid 1:2 Barcelona
Ter Stegen, Umtiti and Messi star as Barça grabs an unlikely win out of the jaws of defeat
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7.5): Our best player without any doubt. His long passing was off, regardless of this he managed to pull many crucial saves to keep it scoreless at HT. When we need him most he is always there, 2 games in a row this has happened. He is becoming a very very important part of the team and will only get better. Most were not too keen on keeping him over Bravo but he has silenced them and they are run back to their caves. Winning us points as well as Messi to keep us in the title race.
Gerard Piqué (7.5): Great performance for Barça’s best defender. Did well under pressure from the start and helped in the buildup. Passing wasn’t always the best, but he was forced to play long passes quite often as Barça struggled to control the game early on and Atleti pressed well. Defensively, he was great and hardly put a foot wrong. Positioned himself well and had a couple of great defensive actions that stopped the danger. Had a good chance to score in the 1st half after a set piece, but Oblak did well to save his shot.
Samuel Umtiti (7.5): Like ter Stegen, he was wonderful. Got stuck in from the get go, attempting 7 clearances and completing them all. Redeemed himself from a poor header with a last ditch block which could’ve resulted in a Atleti goal. Considering how strong Atleti pressed, only 6 misplaced passes is really good. For the most part he dealt with Griezmann and Gameiro with ease. On the goal he perhaps should’ve done better but the goal shouldn’t have stood due to Saul being offside. Though that one error, he didn’t put a foot wrong especially against such a difficult side. He has adapted very well and is without doubt the second best CB at the club.
Jeremy Mathieu (7): A very solid performance, surprisingly. Early on he was targeted and didn’t do too well as he didn’t have much cover. Passed well but didn’t play the right passes, it invited pressure but as the game went on this changed. Started defending really well, winning all his tackles and interceptions. Gladly he didn’t take stupid risks, especially when he tries to go for a dribble. A lot more disciplined today and dealt with the 2 Atleti strikers pretty well. Sadly he had to come off injured after Correa channeled his inner-Atleti and made a thuggish challenge. Let’s hope he doesn’t have a long layoff as he’s been really good for us as of late.
Sergi Roberto (5.5): Started in a more advanced role as Barça played with 3 at the back but he didn’t impress, especially not in the 1st half. Couldn’t cope with Atleti’s press, and decision making wasn’t the best. Positioned wide, he didn’t do much in the buildup. Going forward he hardly ever asked questions of Atleti, except for one solid run in the 2nd half. Passing was fine, but there weren’t many forward passes, also misplaced some easy ones. Defensively, he wasn’t as active as he is usually and Rafinha helped on that right side when needed.
Sergio Busquets (5.5): Not the best performance for him, struggled under Atleti’s pressing and the fact that Barça’s midfield looked disjointed early on didn’t help. Struggled to find passing options more often than not. This, combined with Atleti’s press forced him into mistakes. Misplaced quite a few passes in the 2nd half as he struggled to find his rhythm. Got dispossessed and committed a foul which eventually led to Atleti’s equaliser. Got better in the last 20 minutes after some substitutions were made, but it was a poor performance for the most part.
Andres Iniesta (6): Poor game by his standards, still doesn’t look fully fit. Only 38 passes attempted. Lost the ball dangerously midway through the first half but MAtS came to the rescue. It was a very uncharacteristic mistake from him. The MF dysfunction didn’t help him at all. In the 2nd half, he became more comfortable but didn’t have a big influence on the game, he was positioned too far away from Busquets which made it hard for him. Perhaps this is how Lucho wants him to play but it won’t work as much as he tries it. It’s a very odd to instruct the interiors to play wide. A game to forget, let’s hope this game was down to lack of match rhythm.
Lionel Messi (6.5): Struggled early on, always surrounded with numerous Atleti players whenever he was on the ball and he wasn’t receiving it in dangerous areas. Great free-kick from the edge of the box but Oblak’s save was equally as impressive. Passing wasn’t up to the usual level, Atleti defended well and he couldn’t find spaces in behind their defenders to pass to. More of the same in the 2nd half but he eventually found himself in a golden chance after Umtiti and Suárez combined well in the box. His first shot was blocked but he made no mistake on the rebound and scored another winner for his team. Not the best performance, but decisive for his team yet again.
Rafinha (6): Started on the right wing but he wasn’t involved much in the 1st half. Rarely on the ball and even when he was, he wasn’t making good decisions. Had no impact going forward in the 1st half. Worked well defensively to help Piqué and Sergi on the right, and Carrasco couldn’t do much. Lucho’s decision to keep him on the pitch turned out great as he scored Barça’s 1st goal of the game after the ball got to him in the box. Not an impressive performance, but scored an important goal to help the team win the crucial 3 points.
Luis Suárez (5.5): Looked very isolated yet again, like many times this season. The team struggled to control the game early on and he was rarely on the ball. Even with that considered, he managed to find himself in a great chance to score right at the start of the 2nd half but the finish was poor, should’ve done a lot better on that play. The highlight of his performance was his great run in behind and a pass to Messi who eventually scored on a rebound and won the game. A game to forget for the best striker in the world
Neymar (6.5): He was willing to take risks but his decision making was poor at times. Why try take 4 players on when you can pass and keep the ball? Early on he was dreadful but as the first half went on his decision making got better. Had the better of Vrsaljko for most of the game it must be said. With how much he got the ball he didn’t do much. 10 out 15 dribbles didn’t lead to much though he did look the brightest out of the front 3. For all the ball he had, he created 3 chances. Watching the game it didn’t seem like this. I’m rather surprised how little protection he got, he suffered 8 fouls. Out of MSN he was the brightest player but someone of his quality can do better. He played his part in getting the 3 points. Now onto the next game.
Ivan Rakitić: Subbed on for Iniesta who didn’t play well. Didn’t get too much of the ball but he managed 4 take ons which I’ve not seen in a long time. He did however have an impact on the game, it hasn’t been the case often when he comes off the bench. I think this role suits him a lot better since he doesn’t work well with Sergi Roberto.
Lucas Digne: Replaced the injured Mathieu. He did well, though he isn’t used to playing on that position (LCB in a 3 at the back formation). He completed all his passes though it was only a handful. Completed all his defensive actions too. In such a difficult game he did well considering he has been inconsistent this season.
André Gomes: Came on for Sergi Roberto in the last 5 minutes. Did great on the winning goal, acted a shield and prevented a few Atleti players to reach the passer before the ball eventually got to Umtiti. Other than that, he didn’t have much time to impact the game but it seemed like this substitution pushed Atleti even deeper as Barça piled up the pressure. Not much else to note, got dispossessed once but passed the ball well.
Mateu Lahoz, Referee (5): Not the greatest display from, as we are used to seeing. Though he wasn’t as controversial, he allowed Saul and Gabi to get away with plenty of fouls. I thought the foul he gave against Busquets was very soft. It was barely a pull. On the goal, he and the linesman missed an offside. Saul started in an offside position and then made a movement towards the ball though no touching it. Therefore, offside. Gabi was let off very lightly. He could’ve easily been sent off as well as Vrsaljko who both committed 6 fouls. On average Atleti got booked once every 7 fouls (committing 28 fouls). It must be said, he did manage to control the game well which he hasn’t been able to in recent years.
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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.