An assertive victory at Camp Nou helped seal 3 vital points for Barça as Messi, Fati, Coutinho, Pedri and Dembélé stamped their name on the score-sheet. Having displayed immense fluidity, rhythmic build-up plays and aesthetically pleasing passing sequences which opened up the opposition’s rigid back-line on innumerable occasions, it’s fair to assume the club look in fine kick before the long-awaited El Clásico. Here are the player ratings of Barcelona’s triumphant 5-1 victory over Ferencvarós.
While the Brazilian goalkeeper was hardly ever forced to move a muscle besides the penalty he conceded, his awareness was top notch and distribution immensely accurate. Neto came out of his line to restrict the danger on various occasions and is certainly proving to be an undeniable asset in Ter Stegen’s absence. He’ll be looking to continue his form in the upcoming Clásico.
Gerard Piqué: 5/10
From hero to zero: Gerard Piqué’s impressive performance was completely outdone by the needless foul he committed in the 68th minute of the game, not only receiving a red card which will rule him out of the game against Juventus; but also rewarding the Hungarian side with a penalty they managed to utilize. Piqué was reliable aerially and imposing on the ground, but as he nears the age of retirement, the Spanish veteran seems to have lost a great deal of pace; as was proven by the error he made.
Clement Lenglet: 7.5/10
The Frenchman marshaled Barça’s back-line with tremendous authority and helped his side keep Ferencváros’ nifty forwards at bay for a majority of the game. Displaying some crucial interceptions and asserting his dominance in nearly every duel, Lenglet was as solid as a rock. Although he looked shaky whenever the opposition initiated counter-attacking plays early in the fixture, he maintained his composure and grew into the game gradually.
Sergio Roberto: 7/10
After a fairly mediocre performance at the Alfonso Perez, Sergio Roberto stepped up for the Blaugranas and reminded Culés why he is still an essential figure at the club. Making some darting runs up-field, the Catalan right back combined exceedingly well with Trincão and always offered himself as a threat in the final third. However, even in the defensive aspect, Roberto reigned supreme, winning 7 out of his 8 ground duels and making 4 tackles. The Clásico is particularly a fixture Roberto cherishes and he’ll be hankering to continue his established form.
Sergiño Dest: 6.5/10
The former Ajax man once again showed encouraging signs, even in a role he isn’t typically associated with. Dest was constantly linking up with Ansu Fati and spent a considerable amount of the game up-field, especially since he was hardly challenged in his own half.
Frenkie De Jong: 7.5/10
It appears that Ronald Koeman finally extracted the best version of Frenkie De Jong as the Dutchman exhibited an exuberant 90 minutes of football. Partnering alongside Miralem Pjanic seemed to have gifted Frenkie with a great deal of freedom, which he unfailingly put to good use. The highlight of his half was when he provided Ansu with a beautiful lob, assisting the youngster for the second goal of the night. In addition, De Jong looked reliable defensively.
Miralem Pjanic: 6.5/10
The Bosnian did an effective job replacing Busquets, playing the perfect supporting role for Frenkie in midfield. Pjanic played some laudable long balls and covered a lot of distance in the 60 minutes he had on the field. Although individually he didn’t truly stand out, it could be argued he helped complement De Jong sufficiently.
Philippe Coutinho: 8/10
Another day, another Coutinho masterclass. The Brazilian magician has been an utter joy to watch over the last few weeks and once again made his presence count with a neat finish in the far post after proceedings. Philippe managed to press valiantly and offer himself as a reliable outlet in possession. If Koeman yearns to grasp a convincing win in the upcoming clash against Real Madrid, Coutinho would have to replicate such performances.
Lionel Messi: 8.5/10
Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
The Argentine talisman found himself back in the scoring sheets as Messi converted an early penalty to give the Catalans the lead. While it almost feels like ages since Leo scored from open play, Messi was at his usual best on the field, taking on defenders, assisting teammates, and influencing the game throughout the course of the game. Without Griezmann hindering him, Leo was constantly situated in the center of the field where he could dictate play effortlessly. This version of Messi would be quintessential for Barça against Real Madrid.
Fransisco Trincão: 7.5/10
Trincão truly lit up the right wing with his presence, and finally gave Culés the satisfaction of seeing both flanks so full of life. The Portuguese winger stretched the opposition on countless occasions and allowed the Azulgranas to find spaces to exploit with his admirable off the ball movement. Fransisco was excellent in possession, certainly making a strong case for himself to start on Saturday.
Ansu Fati: 8/10
Ansu Fati scored a crucial goal for the hosts, helping his side grasp 3 vital points. Fati, at the tender age of 17, has already established himself as a regular scorer at the club as he continues to make huge strides. After taking a couple of promising shots at goal, Ansu finally found the back of the net with a terrific finish, which came as a result of a marvelous De Jong assist. Having played a total of 60 minutes, he’d be an indispensable asset this coming Saturday.
Player Ratings: Elche 0-2 Barcelona
With four wins in on the trot in the league, Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona marches on in the hope of overtaking Real Madrid who sit second, three points clear of the Garnet and Blue. Last night’s game against Elche was proof that Barça have what it takes to grind out wins in important games, even if their performance is less than convincing.
A goal each from Frenkie de Jong and Riqui Puig was enough to etch a 0-2 win for the visitors who will now travel to Madrid to lock horns against Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey round of 16. Meanwhile, Barça Universal runs the rule over the Blaugranas.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 8
Barcelona’s captain without the armband continues to come up clutch for Barcelona in the six-yard-box, making stellar saves with each passing game. Yesterday, while the German made only two stops, one of them came post the 75th minute in a high-xG 1v1 scenario.
Oscar Mingueza: 7
Starting in unfamiliar territory, Mingueza coped well with the pressure at right-back. He was solid in the first half and did not let anyone go past him. Additionally, he did well in the attack, continuously whipping in crosses, although with little success. Had an error covered up by ter Stegen, but a solid display nonetheless.
Ronald Araujo: 7.5
Words have started to fall short for Araujo, who, yet again, was on his toes, ready to rescue Barcelona with each passing attack. The Uruguayan won three fouls while committing one himself, and lost possession only 4 times.
Samuel Umtiti: 8
Following his display against Granada, Umtiti got a well-deserved start after two weeks, and was pretty much faultless. A bit conservative in possession, the World Cup winner still managed to create one chance. Without the ball, he was a rock, and nobody was able to get past him on the night.
Jordi Alba: 6.5
The run of underwhelming displays continues for Jordi Alba, who ghosted on the night against Elche, especially in the attack. Did well out of possession, though, making two interceptions, one tackle, and a solitary clearance.
Frenkie de Jong: 9
De Jong woke up and chose violence. He started the game in amazing fashion, progressing the ball immaculately. Got a goal for his rewards, and then etched an assist to his name in the last few minutes, as well, with the most perfectly timed run and pass. Continues to be sensational.
Sergio Busquets: 8
Busquets has started to hold his own in the centre of the park in this formation and had another evening where he was nearly back to his best. The Spaniard conducted the midfield with ease, not allowing the Elche midfield to have the sniff of the ball. Additionally, he also managed to create one chance. Picked up a suspension, though, and will miss the outing against Bilbao.
At just 18, Pedri continues to astound the Barcelona fans, four-folding his standards with each passing game. Yesterday, as well, he made four key passes, completed all his dribbles (4/4), and won two set-pieces. Would have been a perfect night had he gotten an assist, only to be denied by his own overhit passes on two occasions.
Ousmane Dembele: 6
The attack was inarguably the most underwhelming part of Barcelona’s game last night, and understandably so, after playing an insane number of minutes in the past week. Dembele tried his best to get past the Elche defence, but with little to no success, as they stood firmly in place. Additionally, he lost possession a bizarre 21 times in just 74 minutes.
Antoine Griezmann: 6
Griezmann played through the centre on the night, as opposed to the left, where he has been deployed of late. Barring a single key pass for Araujo, the Frenchman did not do a lot, either. He made two great runs, but was denied a shot through poor communication between him and Pedri.
Martin Braithwaite: 6
Rounding off the lineup was Martin Braithwaite, starting on the left. Can be given credit for creating the goal through a brilliant cross, but was otherwise slow in possession, and unable to think on his feet.
Fransisco Trincao: 7
Credit where credit is due, this was probably Trincao’s best cameo for Barcelona. Just when it looked like Barcelona were getting hit back, the Portuguese brought freshness to the wing, and even hit two shots on target. Unfortunately for him, Edgar Badia pulled off two superhuman efforts to deny both his chances.
Riqui Puig: 7
The man of the hour!
Ideally, playing just five minutes would not amount to a 7/10 rating, but Puig practically sealed the game for Barcelona in the 89th minute, meeting de Jong’s cross over two defenders, and scoring his first-ever senior goal. A night he will never forget.