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Match Reviews

Barcelona player ratings vs Deportivo Alaves



Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

There’s nothing like home sweet home. Barcelona winning this match was almost taken for granted, but the manner in which the Catalans enforced their dominance upon Deportivo Alavés – with no signs of preserving energy visible – was certainly a jaw-dropper. While one is always running the risk of exerting excessive energy before a massive clash, it is hard not to applaud the approach Barcelona took as they looked to frighten PSG and head into the encounter with flair and confidence oozing. A 5-1 thumping ahead of the biggest matchup of the season was the ideal outcome.

In spite of the El Glorioso imposing a strict low block, Koeman’s men were just too slick in possession, playing neat little one-twos, slipping into spaces seamlessly and frankly playing like vintage Barcelona. Albeit a cheap individual error by the young Moriba restored some faith for Alavés in the 57th minute, Barcelona’s liquefied alternation of roles upfront remained second to none, with their desire to constantly strafe Pacheco’s net and score more goals proving to be a breath of fresh air.

Marc-André Ter Stegen: 6

Robbed off a clean-sheet, Ter Stegen was forced to pay the price for young Ilaix Moriba’s unfortunate error after proceedings as Rioja scored a well placed goal in the 57th minute. The German faced a total of 6 shots, but his 90 minutes in goal were rather comfortable as he only had to make one save. With the monumental clash against PSG approaching, fans will hope to see the best version of Ter Stegen in action, and one that isn’t let down by his back-line.

Oscar Mingueza: 7

Mingueza has been on top of his game in the last two outings. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Out of possession, the young Spaniard appeared to be forming a 3-man-defense while in possession, Mingueza was far more involved offensively, charging up-field with panache as he executed the role of a wing-back. The La Masia graduate’s cross for the opener proved to be vital as he highlighted his laudable adaption in a role he is vastly unfamiliar with. Furthermore, Mingueza won 2 out of his 3 duels, showcasing defensive discipline, too.

Clement Lenglet: 7

In what has been a season full of ups and downs for the French international, Clement Lenglet displayed an impressive performance at the heart of defense, winning 6 of his 10 duels and showing adept awareness in defense. Lenglet was not tested considerably by an exasperated Alavés side, but had an encouraging outing before the mid-week clash against PSG.

Frenkie De Jong: 6.5

The jack of all trades was, on this occasion, tasked to feature in defense as an injured Araújo and an ungainly Samuel Umtiti left little choice for Ronald Koeman. While De Jong was hardly ever forced to engange in any tackles and occasionally neglected his defensive duties, he was as reliable as ever on the ball and distributed it well from the back. The Dutchman would have benefitted from some rest, but is proving to be indispensable in the current Barcelona side.

Junior Firpo: 7.5

Firpo was solid on the night, and was rewarded with the goal. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Junior Firpo was deployed high up the field, in a far more advanced position than he is used to at Barcelona. However, although the Spaniard was minimally involved in defense, he made some well timed runs in the final third and attempted to recreate Jordi Alba’s role with maturity. Firpo marauded forward at any given opportunity and as a result, etched his name on the score-sheet after a beautiful play constructed by Messi and an accurate assist by Griezmann found the prospect scoring a tap-in.

Sergio Busquets: 7

Barcelona’s conductor in midfield continued to thrive in the single pivot role, with his elegance on the ball once again coming to light. Busquets evaded any ounce of pressure from Alavés comfortably and proceeded to recycle possession on numerous occasions. After a solid first half, the veteran was taken off at the break, in preparation for the clash against the Parisians.

Riqui Puig: 7.5

Riqui Puig is not knocking on Ronald Koeman’s door anymore; he’s barging in. The prodigy’s exuberant performances against Alavés was a testament to his innate abilities against low blocks and understanding of what the team requires of him. Despite opportunities for Puig appearing to be awfully infrequent, he surely made a strong case for himself, uplifting the tempo of the game whenever the ball landed at his feet.

In addition to completing 112 out of 119 passes and creating two chances, his neat little one-twos with the front line were a sight for sore eyes.

Ilaix Moriba: 6.5

The 18 year old made his La Liga debut after Ronald Koeman entrusted him with the keys to the starting XI. While Moriba did well to return the favor with an assist in the first half, his cheap dispossession in the 57th minute which led to Alavés’ only goal saw his performance slightly deteriorate. Overall, the youngster enjoyed an encouraging outing, but often looked confused with the frequent interchanging of roles between Riqui Puig, Griezmann and Lionel Messi. He was taken off soon after his error.

Fransisco Trincão: 8

Portugal’s finest has undeniably turned over a new leaf, having scored 3 goals in his last 2 La Liga matches. Lady luck’s agenda against young Trincão appears to have dwindled as the youngster scored a brace on the night and cut inside effectively from the right hand side. He was rewarded for his smart situation on the field and was whiskers away from securing a hat-trick after a third goal was ruled out as offside.

Antoine Griezmann: 8

Another day, another goal contribution for the man in red hot form. Griezmann was unable to intertwine with the back of the net himself, but was as selfless as ever, assisting twice and making confident plays as he did not hesitate to take on his markers occasionally. The Frenchman has been gravely deprived of rest at this point, yet shows no signs of slowing down.

Lionel Messi: 10

A hit good enough to shake hell. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

All hail the king! Lionel Messi wore his Blaugrana jersey with pride, and it showed. The Argentine was inarguably the most influential figure on the field, orchestrating plays with the eyes of a hawk while pouncing on opportunities with the instincts of a predator. After being chopped off a goal in controversial manner, the little magician simply elevated to another level in search of redemption.

Scoring two golazos from outside the box as Pacheco was left hopeless on both occasions, the menacing man spared no one in his path and produced the ideal exhibition before an encounter of such high magnitude.


Pedri: 7.5

Samuel Umtiti: 6

Miralem Pjanic: N/A

Sergiño Dest: N/A

Ousmane Dembélé: N/A

Watching our homegrown legends move the ball in such majestic manner and experiencing the vast set of emotions it brought simply made me fall in love with this beautiful sport. Barcelona's elegant football taught me that you don't have to be an admirer of art to be lost in a whirlpool of colours. This club being one of the few teams that gave performances to savour week in week out obliged me into becoming an exuberant member of this fan base, and this ineffable love for Barça has now encouraged me to spread Barcelona's colorful craft with other football enthusiasts.