After an international break that seemed to drag on for ages, Barcelona returned to action in La Liga with a trip to Rayo Vallecano.
Coming off the back off a poor spell of games, the Catalans had to win in order to keep up the pace atop the table after the break provided a chance to regroup and refocus, despite some horrible news about Gavi’s ACL injury.
But unfortunately, their dreadful form continued with another subpar performance in a 1-1 draw against the Madrid-based side.
Yet again, there was absolutely no control or flow to their performance and they did not manage to carve out any clear-cut opportunities or threaten Rayo Vallecano remotely as much as they would have liked until it was too late.
Here are the blaugrana outfit’s individual performances from the night under the microscope.
Inaki Pena: 4.5
Handed his first La Liga start ever in the injured ter Stegen’s absence, the nerves clearly seemed to be getting to Pena as he looked shaky in his shot-stopping, unassured in his distribution was very slow to react to Rayo’s opener
Joao Cancelo: 6
Started getting more involved towards the latter stages of the first half, but was unable to exert any major influence on the game the way we know he can.
Andreas Christensen: 7.5
The most solid of the Barcelona backline, Christensen marshalled the defence with some important recovery challenges and kept his composure on the ball.
Inigo Martinez: 7
Largely solid in possession and also while dealing with the Rayo attack, but has points docked for giving away the free kick that led to the hosts’ opener.
Alejandro Balde: 7.5
Showed more attacking impetus than he has recently and also made a huge clearance right before the break to keep the deficit at 1-0.
The runs down the flank finally paid off when he latched on to a ball over the top and then put in a great cross that Florian Lejeune diverted into his net for Barcelona’s equaliser.
Frenkie de Jong: 7
Returned to action for the first time in over two months, but was understandably not as sharp as before, dwelling on the ball a little too much at times.
However, he did show just what the Catalans had been missing while he was out.
Oriol Romeu: 4
Made some atrocious passes and was caught napping on multiple occasions in another disappointing performance to add to his poor recent form.
Solid as ever in midfield for the Catalans, rarely ever putting a foot wrong, pressing diligently and slowing the tempo down, and also had a few pops at goal.
Seemed to be getting closer to his sharpest after his return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Lamine Yamal: 6.5
Possibly Barcelona’s brightest presence in attack, as he tried to take on his men with mazy runs and break into the box, unfortunately, to no avail.
Roberto Lewandowski: 6
Was not given much service, but the Pole was entirely invisible in the first half and contributed then turned up a bit more in the second, as he made a good run into the box during the equaliser.
Serious questions have to be asked about how the best can be brought out of him, because the way things are going is not good enough.
Ferran Torres: 5.5
An underwhelming night for the Shark, who did make a bunch of runs and tried to get things going in the opponents’ half, but could not really generate much threat.
He did contribute defensively on a number of occasions, however, which was positive to see.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6.5
Replaced Romeu and instantly added a bit more control and assurance to the team, allowing them to retain the ball more effectively and pose much more threat in the second half than they could in the first.
Joao Felix: 6
Immediately brought more fluidity to the Catalans’ attack, occupying spaces between the Rayo defenders and linking up play effectively.
Fermin Lopez: 6
Was calm and composed in possession and circulated the ball well, keeping things largely tidy.
An explosive introduction after replacing Yamal, the Brazilian added immediate energy to the attack and was much more direct in driving at the opposition.
He even hit the post with a fierce drive that could have been followed into the net.