There are very rare occasions when Barcelona win by big margins in away matches but today they did it. Barcelona emerged victorious in every way possible against Alaves at Mendizorroza stadium. There is no doubt that cules from all over the world enjoyed a brilliant performance from the team who defeated a home defeat previously against Osasuna and Real Madrid winning the La Liga. With the upcoming UCL clash against Napoli, this match will be a huge boost to face the Italian giants.
Player Ratings and Review:
The Brazilian shot-stopper finally got a chance to play ahead of Ter Stegen but Alaves failed to cause any kind of trouble to the keeper. Most of Alavés shots were blocked by Barcelona defenders.
It feels like a long time since ‘ALBESSI’ connection aroused the Barcelona fans but finally today we got to see that trademark pass by Messi to Alba who makes a cutback to Messi scoring the 5th goal of the evening. Alba assisted twice to Suarez and later to Messi. Both the goals were very similar with Alba making a timed run and making that perfect cross.
As predicted, the Uruguayan started the match in place of Pique and its fair to say that he is improving in every match he plays. Today he was rock solid and what amazed me was his trackback at the correct moment. He was very aware of his surroundings.
Finally after Lenglet’s average performances, today he was absolutely at his best against Alaves. With Alaves forwards not pressing him hard, he had more time and often provided a lot of direct passes to the midfielders, he often moved forward in the opposition half in case of overloads. The tackle against Burke also helped Neto keep a clean sheet. But the worrying sign was his injury on the right groin which forced him to be subbed out right after the first half. He looked in pain and further tests will determine his fate for the Napoli clash.
Roberto was back at the right-back position and he was just outstanding. The usual issue of not providing width is always fulfilled by Roberto and tonight he was excellent in doing that. Offensively, he was combining really well in final third stages and provided that vital and accurate cross to Puig which later turned out to be Puig’s first assist on the evening. Defensively, he provided 5 tackles and 2 interceptions proving he can stretch Napoli low block from the right.
Busquets formed a back 3 with Araujo and Lenglet at the back from the start. This helped Barcelona to have security during transitions. Busquet’s was providing a lot of good passes which lacked for some time. In one instance, Joselu was almost about to score but Busquet’s sliding tackle prevented the shot.
The Chilean was electrifying on the pitch with much-needed energy and desire to dominate the right side of the pitch. Vidal was denied twice today when he first tried a strong volley from the right which unfortunately hit the crossbar and the second time his header was denied by the Alaves keeper.
Riqui Puig today proved one thing that he is at Barca for a very very long time. Today, he just had one aim and that was to provide the team with every way possible. As a result, Puig got 2 assists. As a left interior, Puig is unstoppable. His passing range to his pressing, at such age he shows great maturity. His one line-breaking pass was so beautiful that Suarez was directly 1v1 with the keeper and failed to score. You have to watch his performance to understand the weight he has on his play.
Imagine how horrible Suarez was if he has a lower rating than Neto who is a keeper and wasn’t hazzled. Despite scoring a header, Suarez wasted every good opportunity he was provided by his teammates. Even the xG creators would be laughing after seeing Suarez miss such great chances. One thing is clear that the first priority should be signing a Suarez replacement who can bench Suarez with his performances.
Still blows my mind that this player is just 17 and how ridiculously good he is on the left-wing. The way he harassed Alaves defence with his fine composure during dribbling and 1v1 situations is a clear hint that letting him go for any amount of money will be a major loss.
Look at his awareness to land on the space and score. His quickness to spot the space was spot on. This gem will definitely rule the world.
As if numbers ever did any justice to La Pulga. After the recent criticism regarding his goalscoring form, Messi in one match broke two records, one is that Messi has now broken Xavi’s 20 assists in one season record with the Argentine having 1 more than the Spaniard and the second, Messi is now 5 goals ahead of Benzema and is on his way to win his 7th pichichi. If he retains such form, then UCL doesn’t seem that hard.
Played only 30 min but the Portuguese scored a good goal which was assisted by Puig.
Frenkie De Jong(6.6/10):
After a month of absence due to injury, Frenkie finally made it to the bench and played good 40 min of the second half. He was looking sharp and his passes were more decisive rather than being more of a circulation pass. Having him back is a very positive sign as his presence in the midfield will be very vital in UCL.
Played for 10 min but missed out on a goal with his shot just being a bit wide.
Despite being under tremendous pressure in recent times, Setien was correct with his plans and eleven. 3-4-3 actually suited every player and got the best out of them. When Alaves in the second half changed to 5 back with much deeper block, the team didn’t stagnate as such and provided great width. What remains is how Setien plans and progresses in these upcoming 20 days. These 20 days are very important for him and the team to decide their fate in the UCL.
This game was something which the fans and the team needed to boost their confidence. It was a very exciting match with the players self-evaluating their faults and working on it. To avoid a trophy-less season, the team has to work on their mentality and prepare themselves for a very strong UCL campaign.
Loved our ‘Barcelona Player ratings and review’? Do read the match summary here