In a disappointing draw for the Catalans at the Sánchez Pizjuán, these are the ratings from each Barcelona player in last night’s game against Sevilla.
Barcelona failed to seal the victory at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium as Sevilla proved to be an incredibly hard nut to crack. While Julen Lopetegui’s side would partially be happy with a draw, for Quique Setién, dropping points at this stage has to be considered as a loss since Real Madrid are now provided with the perfect opportunity to go in front. With Barça’s first slip-up in the title race, all eyes will be on Madrid at Anoeta this Sunday.
Focusing on last night’s goalless draw between Sevilla and Barcelona, many conclusions can be drawn. The collective, overall, left much to be desired in the end. But, while some players disappointed, others certainly stood out. This is how each of them performed:
Marc-André ter Stegen: 7.5/10
While Marc-André ter Stegen had a busy night in goal, he was determined to keep Sevilla’s agile forwards at bay. The German denied opposing wingers Munir el Haddadi and Lucas Ocampos from scoring in the second half as he helped his side secure the fourth clean sheet in a row.
Gerard Piqué: 7/10
Gerard Piqué was a ray of hope for the blaugranas at the back, breaking down several plays and establishing a solid partnership with Clément Lenglet. The Spaniard went high up the pitch almost every time an opportunity arose, while also fulfilling his defensive duties with tremendous efficiency. Despite getting caught off guard on a few occasions, he was able to successfully reposition himself.
Clément Lenglet: 7/10
French international Clément Lenglet looked in good knick facing Sevilla at the venue he once called home. Lenglet complemented Piqué effectively as he was quick to deny Lopetegui’s men from lashing out on the counter-attack. After his excellent display on Tuesday against Leganés, last night the 25-year-old looked calm and collected in one-on-one situations, making several clearances and winning almost all his ground duels.
Nélson Semedo: 7.5/10
Sergi Roberto’s absence through injury seemed like a huge blow at first, but Nélson Semedo stepped up when it really mattered as he proved to be a constant threat on the right hand side, finding himself in prominent positions upfield. Not only was Semedo able to cover up on the defensive end, but he was also lethal moving forward. Nonetheless, it could certainly be argued that Nelson’s lively performance had slightly deteriorated after proceedings.
Jordi Alba: 8/10
Similar to his full-back partner in crime, Jordi Alba displayed adept positioning, with his composure in defence and flare upfront, giving Barcelona an edge on the left hand side. He was there to help the Catalans on the defensive end and also ensured he created chances for his team in attack.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Sergio Busquets executed the pivot role almost perfectly. He was the link between defence and midfield / attack. The Spaniard also went into the centre-back position frequently when one of the Barça defenders had gone high up the pitch. Although he didn’t contribute much to the host’s counter-pressing and looked lethargic by the end of the game, he still had an important part to play in controlling the midfield.
Everyone from Barça impressed in the first half, but the overall level seemed to drop after half-time | Photo by Fernando Ruso / Cordon Press via Imago
Iván Rakitić: 7.5/10
Iván Rakitić covered a great deal of distance and helped Barça regain possession several times. He was energetic and a breath of fresh air for the azulgranas. The Croatian made the right plays and minimally gave possession away, helping Barça continuously retain the ball. However, after the 60 minute mark, he undoubtedly seemed tired.
Arturo Vidal: 6.5/10
Often made to incorporate areas Lionel Messi would leave unguarded, Arturo Vidal did well in covering up for him. The Chilean was impressive with his pressing and knack to win the ball back, but failed to be as influential of assertive as he was a week ago against Mallorca.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
Not Lionel Messi’s best performance, who regularly had to drop deep in order to add some sort of creativity in the Catalans’ stale midfield. In spite of looking sharp in the first half and being involved on the ball, he seemed too overburdened after proceedings considering the side lost its energy and intensity almost completely.
Luis Suárez: 5/10
Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez looked extremely out of form and miraculously ended up playing the full 90 minutes. Suárez missed a couple of great opportunities to score and struggled to connect with any of his partners in attack. A disappointing night for a player who could have offered immense support on his day.
Martin Braithwaite: 5.5/10
Martin Braithwaite made some piercing runs in attack, but was partially confused as to where he was supposed to station himself. He didn’t seem to combine much with Messi or Suárez and was also unable to provide the width Barça were looking for. Eventually, the Dane forward came off for Arthur in the 63rd minute.
❛ We thought that Braithwaite over Griezmann, with his pace, was better tonight. These are decisions that have to be made thinking about the match, the rival…❜
Riqui Puig: N/A
How should Barcelona lineup against Dynamo Kyiv?
If the horrid performance against Atletico Madrid was not enough, injuries continue to plague Barcelona’s season further. The Catalans were outplayed at the Wanda Metropolitano. However, the question is: How does the team recover from a defeat like that?
After initial injuries to Ansu Fati and Sergio Busquets threatened to derail the Catalans season, the club has now confirmed both Gerard Pique and Seri Roberto to be out through injury for a long spell.
Yet, for all the mayhem in the league, Barcelona’s position in the champions league is safe. With three wins from their opening three encounters, they sit untouched at the top of the group. Ronald Koeman pointed to the same when asked about his decision of resting Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong. With so many key players out injured and others rested, how should Barcelona line-up against Dynamo Kyiv?
What to expect from Dynamo Kyiv?
The first game between the two sides provided more than it had promised. Kyiv were missing 13 players through COVID-19, yet that did not reflect on the pitch. Barcelona dominated the opening spell of the game. However, beyond the 25-minute mark, there was a sudden drop in energy levels. The Catalans seemed to ease off, opening the gates to a close-fought level headed battle which could have gone either way.
Mircea Lucescu has stuck to his successful 4-1-4-1 in the Champions League too. The overload in midfield is a potent obstacle to most oppositions, though one would expect Barcelona to break it down. The Ukrainians have often resorted to, and will most probably look to once again implement a low block. The press is high, however, isn’t very prominent in the opposition half.
Lucescu will bring up a harbour of troubles for Barcelona. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)
Instead, Lucescu’s men look to hit on the counter. Victor Tsygankov, Vitaliy Buyalski and Vladydlav Supryaga have time and time again proved to invaluable for the same.
Learning from their mistakes, Barcelona will have to plug the spaces in between lines to come back home with all three points. It is a much younger side travelling to Ukraine. Moreover, with this being a chance for many of them to impress, one can expect the youth to step up.
How should the Barcelona line-up?
The only department that seems sorted for the time being is the Goalkeeper. Yet, ter Stegen too is coming off a horrid mistake at the Wanda Metropolitano. One that cost Barcelona the match. Undoubtedly, the German will be keen to make a statement on Tuesday.
The defence is in jeopardy. Gerard Pique could likely miss anywhere between three months to the end of the season after suffering a muscle sprain and partial cruciate ligament tear. Ronald Araujo is not fit to compete either, and with Samuel Umtiti’s state not helping the cause, Koeman stares into blackness.
Yet, one man’s loss is another’s gain. Given the situation, young Barcelona B centre-back Oscar Mingueza could get his chance to impress. In fact, it was a point Koeman specifically hinted to at the pre-match interview. Alongside him will undoubtedly be Clement Lenglet, whose importance is now more than ever. In Pique’s absence, the Frenchman will have to take up the onus of leadership and marshalling the troops.
Sergi Roberto’s injury opens the door for Sergino Dest to start the game at right-back. Unquestionably, his pace will be crucial to neutralise Kyiv’s threat on the counter.
At left-back, one expects Jordi Alba to start once again. In the absence of Lionel Messi, the Spaniard’s importance will be more than ever to create chances going forward.
Ronald Koeman could opt for a change in formation going into this clash, given his limited resources. Indeed, a 4-3-3 would be an ideal setup to try with the new crop of players. Miralem Pjanic could start as the defensive midfielder operating deeper in the position. Nevertheless, It is not a new role for the Bosnian, as he has played as a single pivot on many occasions in his career.
The midfield could be completed by the duo of Pedri and Carles Alena. Pedri had a comparatively quiet night against Atletico Madrid and will look to make amends. Carles Alena could finally get a well-deserved start after being neglected from the start of the season.
Antoine Griezmann could well start as the centre-forward on the night. The Frenchman has come under intense scrutiny by the media, both for his performances and statement made by people in his environment. Indeed, it will be an essential night for the World Cup winner, as he will lead the Catalan attack.
🗣 — Griezmann: "I am very well here at Barça, they have welcomed me very well. I want to help the team. They trusted me and now I want to reciprocate that trust by helping the team win. There is no problem with anyone, I'm really fine and I just ask you to leave me a bit calm." pic.twitter.com/XuOLl92GQH— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 23, 2020
Flanking him on the left side would be Ousmane Dembele, who is undoubtedly a major asset for Koeman. In these trying times with limited options, his all-round play comes as a whiff of fresh air.
On the right-flank, Fransisco Trincao would be the ideal option. Koeman has under-utilised the Portuguese winger so far. However, Tuesday night could be his chance to impress as the Dutch manager looks to rest key players. Moreover, his combination with Dest will be crucial for Barcelona to break down Lucescu’s side.