Futbol Club Barcelona escaped the Estadio Benito Villamarín with a point after some bizarre referee decisions and lackluster play. Fans will blame the lack of rest between matches, the early start time, injuries, and mainly the referee but the club has to take a long look in the mirror after such an unconvincing performance. Real Betis were unfortunate to earn only a draw after hitting the crossbar and the post as well as overall pushing Barcelona to its limits.
Marc-André ter Stegen – 5.5
Marc made a series of nice stops throughout the match and his distribution was mainly on point. Although most of the blame for the Betis goal must fall on his shoulders. He tried to punch the ball off a corner and was muscled out of the play resulting in the goal.
Lucas Digne – 5.0
Lucas looked hesitant throughout the match and his lack of sharpness was the main cause for the failing of the left wing for Barcelona. The Frenchman was thankfully replaced by Jordi Alba in the 68th minute.
Jérémy Mathieu – 6.0
Mathieu was strong in the tackle and his passes found their mark. Usually an easy scapegoat for the club, the same could not be said in today’s match.
Gerard Piqué – 6.5
The future President made two great clearances in the first half that stopped Betis attacks along with a professional foul that did the same earning him a yellow in the process. Gerard was strong all match especially upstairs.
Aleix Vidal – 6.5
Vidal was dangerous throughout the match and for long stretches the main source of offensive for the club. After Sergi Roberto was subbed on for Arda Turan, Aleix occupied the right wing for Barcelona. His cross in the 76th minute was put into the net clearly as an own goal but was not given by the referee or linesman. For La Liga to be taken seriously as the best league in the world something needs to be done about the poor officiating.
Arda Turan – 6.0
Arda does not look like the goal scoring machine he has been this season when he is played in the midfield. He made a few nice tackles and had some nice runs but was overall ineffective.
Ivan Rakitić – 5.5
The game just passed by the Croatian dynamo. Two nice tackles were the highlight of his night, but he just didn’t bring what Sergio Busquets or Javier Mascherano does for the club. Missing was the pivot play of the former and the long balls of the latter.
Denis Suárez – 5.5
After a string of nice performances earning him the tag of successor to Andrés Iniesta, the young Spaniard came back down to earth. He didn’t play poorly but didn’t drive Barcelona forward either.
Neymar – 6.5
Neymar should have scored in the 38th minute after a brilliant ball from Messi. The Brazilian brought his usual strong dribbles to the match, but he constantly held onto the ball too long rather than finding his teammates. He was comically brought down in the box with an obvious penalty shout, but it was uncalled during the ball crossing the line farce.
Luis Suárez – 6.5
Luis did virtually nothing of note during the match, but as great strikers always do, he stepped up and put the ball into the back of the net when needed. His 90th minute goal after a delicious Messi pass earned the club a point. It is worrying although that with Messi occupying the middle so often that Suarez constantly has to suffer on the wing.
Lionel Messi – 6.5
This will not be a match long remembered for the greatest player of all time. Messi struggled to impose his will on the match as he looked to be the playmaker for the club. For the first time this season Lionel dropped into the midfield when Alba and Roberto came on. Was this a taste of what’s to come for the great Argentine?
André Gomes – 5.5
Gomes was brought on to replace Denis but brought little to match. He is making a habit of giving the ball away at inappropriate times. Thankfully this time it didn’t lead to any goals. It may be harsh this being his first season for the club, but he doesn’t look to have the Barcelona DNA.
Jordi Alba – 5.5
He replaced the ineffective Digne but was rather ineffective himself.
Sergi Roberto – 6.0
His inclusion allowed Vidal to venture farther forward which proved to be the most dangerous movements for the club.
Barcelona was both lucky to escape with a draw and unfortunate not to win the match. Unless Madrid drops tons of points the league looks to be lost. Barcelona are not getting the luck they need to be champions nor can they grind out victories when playing poorly. What did you think?