Guest Contributor: Darren Looney
Yesterday provided Barca fans with a spark of hope after Atletico Madrid handed Ronald Koeman’s side a lifeline back into the title race. But just like midweek, that pre-game hope of grabbing that lifeline was squashed by another disappointing result, this time at the hands of Cadiz.
Barca were trying to make it 8 wins in a row in La Liga, and the Catalan side controlled the game for 84 minutes, which is when Cadiz decided to start pressing the ball. But once again, in a movie we’ve all seen before, the second this team comes under any bit of serious pressure, someone in the backline tends to collapse under it.
Here’s how the Barcelona players dared against Cadiz in today’s game and the ratings we believe they deserve for their performances.
Marc-André Ter Stegen: 6.5
Didn’t have a lot to do today, as Cadiz opted for a low block/counter-attacking strategy. Claimed the ball when needed and played it out quickly when Cadiz were someway out of shape. A quiet day at the office for the German number one and will be disappointed with giving up a nailed on clean sheet.
Sergiño Dest: 7
Sergino Dest put the disheartening experience of Tuesday night behind him with an excellent display today. He was used very high up the pitch to stretch the Cadiz defence, which allowed space to combine with Dembele to create chances.
The fullback was very effective in his timing of overlaps and got in behind the Cadiz line multiple times. The final ball was not always perfect but not barely always down to him due to a lack of options inside the box. Showed great strength for the disallowed Pedri goal.
Overall, it was a really encouraging display from the 20-year-old.
Gerard Piqué: 6.5
Pique had a quiet afternoon until the end of the game, where he was thrown up top to rescue the 3 points. Finished the game with a 97% pass completion rate, one of which was a brilliant long ball over the top to find a Dembele run.
Clément Lenglet: 5.5
With 2 minutes to go, Lenglet would be getting an 8 for what was a near-perfect display up until then. The Frenchman dealt with Cadiz’ long balls very well, winning 5 aerial duels against their frontmen, which resulted in Negredo being subbed just before the hour mark. He found Alba with some lovely passes and tried to split their defence with a few long balls.
However, that controlled performance will be quickly forgotten by Cúlers, as his liabilities shone through yet again. A ridiculous mistake cost his side the three points, and it will be added to the list of mistakes of the people who don’t want him near the starting 11.
Jordi Alba: 6.5
Just like Dest, Alba found himself playing very high up the pitch. He didn’t get involved as much as his fellow fullback but created a few good chances, particularly in the first half. Made some good runs in an attempt to break the lines but needed to be more clinical once receiving the ball.
The Spanish international got caught defensively in the first half, which let to Cadiz’ best open play chance through Sobrino and overall wasn’t anything special today.
Frenkie de Jong: 6.5
Did his best to get involved today by making runs into the box for crosses, which didn’t turn out to be effective. This was best summed up with his disallowed goal, which he narrowly mistimed his run. Did well to progress the ball and made some excellent runs to try and break Cadiz’s defensive lines.
Moved back to the pivot when Busquets went off and lost his influence in the attacking game.
Sergio Busquets: 8.5
After being singled out during the week, Sergio Busquets had a fantastic performance today. He pressed well when Cadiz tried to transition, won aerial duels when they kicked it long, tackled effectively and made key passes throughout the game, all culminating in an influential display. The highlight of this display was a delightful through ball to Messi, which did not result in a goal, unfortunately.
To be picky, he could have done better to track Sobrino during the build-up to his chance but overall a fantastic performance from the Spaniard.
Seemed to be everywhere on the pitch, Pedri wasted very little today with a 92% pass completion rate and created key chances for his teammates. Every pass was quick, with the chip over the top for Messi standing out. Showed determination to get to the ball to win the penalty and was very successful in recovering the ball when it was turned over. Another display that highlights this potential superstar’s talent.
Ousmane Dembélé: 7
Dembele showed today why he was originally signed for the club. His speed is frightening, his ability to switch from left to right with such ease is dazzling, and overall, he is a constant nightmare for defenders in fill-swing.
He linked up well with Dest throughout the first half, which was Barca’s main side of attack and cut in-side a lot to create chances for both himself and his teammates.
We were inches away from a goal of the season contender when he burst past 5 defenders before narrowly putting it wide.
Lionel Messi: 7
Today saw Messi reach yet another career milestone breaking Xavi’s record for La Liga appearances for Barca with his 506 appearances for the club. He marked this occasion with a goal, adding Cadiz to the list of La Liga opponents he has scored against.
Throughout the game, he was Barca’s biggest threat and had multiple chances to score. He was fluid amongst the front three, and Cadiz struggled to get control of him throughout the game. Could have possibly been a little more clinical in front of goal, but against a Cadiz defence who defended well, that is only a minor criticism.
Antoine Griezmann: 5.5
Griezmann looked like a player lacking confidence and his influence on the game was minimal. He was seen getting caught in possession and giving the ball away with stray passes often. This was another display that can be added to the day to forget folder of the Frenchman.
Martin Braithwaite: 6
Miralem Pjanic: 5.5
Riqui Puig: 6
Oscar Mingueza: 6
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