Round three of La Liga sees Barcelona lose a tough three points at home to Alavés. The club was first undone with a simple cross to Deyverson that resulted in a goal, but minutes later equalized on a Jérémy Mathieu header from a Neymar corner. The contest was decided in the 64th minute after a bad clearance by Javier Mascherano that led to a goal from Ibai Gómez. Luis Enrique made seven changes to the team that started the previous match against Athletic Club before the international break. Even after the introductions of Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, and Luis Suárez the club were unable to equalize.
Jasper Cillessen – 5.5
Conceded two goals on his Barcelona debut but had little chance with either. He made one good save in the 14th minute but overall didn’t face too much pressure aside from the goal scoring movements. His distribution was decent, but pressure was light. He will be a good back up keeper for the club.
Lucas Digne – 5.0
He had some good crossing and overlapping moments, but no one could say he should be replacing Jordi Alba anytime soon. The first goal started on his side. Overall he didn’t stand out on offense or defense.
Jérémy Mathieu – 6.5
A great header from the Frenchman was the club’s only goal. He missed a sitter minutes later that should have put Barcelona ahead, but it’s impossible to ask a defender to score a brace. Overall used his speed to stop too much from coming down the left flank. He was never put under pressure during a pass so had a tidy match.
Javier Mascherano – 3.0
The main reason for the 3 is Gerard Piqué. Mascherano was playing as the right center back in Pique’s position. Passing was OK and he did move farther up the pitch as the game went on but must be said, was at some fault for both goals. He was beaten to the spot on the first and his miskick led to the second goal. One of his worst matches for the club.
Aleix Vidal – 5.0
His performance made me miss Sergi Roberto. Lost the ball far too often when running at opponents. His passing was lazy and his crosses lacked precision.
Denis Suárez – 5.0
He got beat on the cross for the first goal. Never could find the final killer pass and he lost far too many balls. Like most on the team, he was unspectacular.
Sergio Busquets – 5.5
Controlled the tempo of the first half with his rhythmic passing. The second half saw him drop back to almost a right center back with the rest of the squad bombing forward. The match needed more of his creativity.
Ivan Rakitić – 5.0
Was invisible during the first half and mostly blurry in the second. On the day the side was lacking the final ball and Ivan didn’t have it either. Ran his socks off as usual but to little effect.
Neymar – 6.0
Was looking to impress from the opening whistle. He began the game as Messi would have but just on the left. Neymar tried to dictate play through dribbling and passing while trying to set up others rather than himself. The only thing the game was missing was a moment of brilliance from the young Brazilian. His did notch up an assist on the corner to the Mathieu goal.
Paco Alcácer – 4.5
If Rakitić was invisible Paco was a ghost. I think he was on the pitch. You could almost feel his presence. This wasn’t the finest first match for a young striker trying to justify a large transfer fee, but there will be others.
Arda Turan – 5.5
He won the corner that lead to the goal but never looked as comfortable playing on the right as he did on the left in previous weeks. It remains to be seen if Arda will start against Celtic F.C., mostly likely not.
Lionel Messi – 6.0
He took three free kicks, and they all failed. Messi missed a pretty decent chance in the 94th minute that could have tied the match. He never had a hold on the encounter. There were his trademark runs and passes but nothing penetrated too deep.
Andrés Iniesta – 5.5
The magic never happened for this magic man. It was good to see him back on the pitch after a couple of weeks on the sidelines. Most likely Tuesday night we will see more of this man’s skill.
Luis Suárez – 5.5
Only a little more visible than Paco. There were no hints of his hold up play or his typical nutmegs and dinks to be seen.
The side puts in a lackluster display and loses the match one to two. No one on the pitch stood out other than Neymar and Mathieu. Who were your favorites?