La Liga: FC Barcelona 0-1 Athletic Bilbao: Player Ratings

David Ramos

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's 0-1 loss against Athletic Bilbao

Jose Manuel Pinto 5.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 43
Passes: 17
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Shots Faced: 6
Saves Made: 5

Bostjan says: 7.5

Pinto has done a very good job replacing Victor Valdes in the Barcelona net so far and the story was the same at San Mames, even though Barcelona recorded their second consecutive loss. He couldn't do nothing on the goal he allowed, but he came up with five saves, including a point-blank stop on Toquero, and was probably Barcelona's best player. Facing incredibly high pressure by the opponent Pinto once again showed he's not as comfortable on the ball as Valdes is as there were plenty of panicky clearances even though Pinto at times had a couple seconds of time left to come up with a better solution.

Martin Montoya 4.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 77
Passes: 40
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Key Passes: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 1
Turnovers: 5
Fouls Won: 2

Bostjan says: 7.0

Playing at his preferred, right-back, position after spending the last three games on the left side Montoya looked very comfortable. He was spending a lot of time in the offensive third where he linked up well with the forwards. Montoya's distribution was excellent and his work rate was very high, highlighted by a couple plays when he forced the opposing defender to make a mistake. He also made several good defensive plays and was very rarely caught out of position.

Gerard Pique 4.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 58
Passes: 46
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 4

Bostjan says: 5.5

Pique didn't necessarily have as a bad game he had against Ajax, though he was unable to block the cross that led to the only goal, but he again made several other small mistakes. This time none of them led to goals, but he won't always be this "lucky". I also noticed him, like in the Ajax game, waiting for the referee to blow the whistle on a borderline call instead of staying with the play until he actually hears the whistle. His air game also left much to be desired as he barely broke the 50% mark of duels won (57%).

Javier Mascherano 4.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 85
Passes: 70
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 6
Clearances: 3
Aerial Duels Won: 0

Bostjan says: 6.0

Like his center-back partner Mascherano also struggled. First signs of a poor performance came up very early, in the eight minute, when he was easily beaten by Susaeta on a one-on-one. Sure, the Argentine made plenty of perfect sliding tackles, but he also often lost his marker, with the most notable lost assignment coming in the 75th minute when Toquero was left with a free header on goal. He also picked up a yellow card for a poor tackle that was probably a result of frustration as the game was coming to an end and Barcelona could get nothing going.

Adriano Correia 4.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 99
Passes: 61
Pass Accuracy: 74%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 4
Fouls Won: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Bostjan says: 5.5

Just returning from his latest spell on the sidelines due to an injury, Adriano didn't put in a memorable performance. He struggled mightily all game long with the pace and dribbling ability of Susuata, and his passing was, for Barcelona standards, atrocious, as he barely eclipsed the 70% mark. I also have to question his concentration after the boneheaded play when he simply allowed the ball to get out of play for an Athletic corner early in the second half. And the fact that Adriano picked up another yellow card, his fifth in La Liga this season, means that he will be suspended for the next game against Villarreal

Sergio Busquets 5.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 92
Passes: 77
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 0
Aerial Duels Won: 4
Turnovers: 3

Sam says: 6.5

Busquets started the game brightly and seemed to be warming up for next year’s Brazilian World Cup by performing tricks that are rarely seen in his game. His first back heel led to one of Barcelona’s best chances but Alexis was ruled offside. His second flick also resulted in a good chance for the team but Iniesta’s shot dragged wide. Busquets reverted back to his old style after this as Barcelona looked to gain midfield dominance. Some criticisms of his performance coming of his failure to track Iker Muniain’s run for Athletics’ goal and picking up a yellow card for arguing is never justified. 

Xavi 4.3
Minutes played: 78
Touches: 68
Passes: 59
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Turnovers:2
Key Passes: 1
Fouls Won: 1

Sam says: 6.5

Xavi was very much a passenger of this game as Athletic bossed the midfield from practically start to finish. This led to a much weaker Xavi performance as he struggled to have any real effect on the play. For a man who has come to be known for near-perfect passes, Xavi had a very off night. Under 90% pass success rate and just 60 passes completed show signs of a very uncharacteristic  night for the Barça captain. Overall, Xavi was just out marked of this game by Athletic’s midfield and was unable to make an influence before being subbed in the 78th minute.

Andres Iniesta 5.2
Minutes played: 85
Touches: 88
Passes: 64
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 3
Key Passes: 0
Successful Dribbles: 5

Sam says: 7.0

Similar to his midfield partner Xavi, Iniesta found the game difficult but the Barcelona number eight did make a small influence in particular during the early stages. Iniesta showed a willingness to break forward, switching with Cesc Fàbregas when possible and had his first touch not let him down it is likely he would’ve scored the opener. The playmaker then had another chance to put Barcelona ahead as Busquets flicked the ball into his path but Iniesta’s weak foot shot dragged passed the post. The most disappointing aspect of Iniesta’s game was his passing, he attempted too many "eye of the needle" style balls and ended with a relatively poor 81% pass success rate before leaving the field in the 85th minute.

Alexis Sánchez 4.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 60
Passes: 34
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 2
Successful Dribbles: 4
Key Passes: 2
Turnovers: 5

Arron says: 6.5

After a blistering run of form saw the Chilean bag 11 goals in his last 10 appearances for club and country, expectations were high for Alexis Sanchez -- and unfortunately we were left disappointed by his relatively quiet performance. While he may have the same number of league goals as Lionel Messi, there is no doubting that Sánchez is some way away from Messi’s level of influence.

Cesc Fabregas 4.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 71
Passes: 54
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 2
Turnovers: 2

Arron says: 6.5

1) Cesc Fabregas is not Lionel Messi.

2) Cesc Fabregas is a midfielder.

Those two points not only sum up Cesc's performance last night, but they also explain why we shouldn't be too critical of the Catalan -- he's only following orders after all.

Neymar 5.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 58
Passes: 31
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/1
Fouls Won: 5
Key Passes: 2
Successful Dribbles: 1
Turnovers: 5

Arron says: 7.0

Another game without a goal for the Brazilian who squandered many of Barcelona's best chances en route to this goalless display. However, unlike many others I'm going to side with the former Santos star -- criticising someone for missing chances is all well and good, but when that player is the only one intelligent enough to break down the opposition defense, you're made to look a little foolish. Just imagine how few chances we would have created without Neymar's movement and skill...

Sergi Roberto 4.1
Minutes played: 12
Touches: 10
Passes: 9
Pass Accuracy: 89%

Arron says: N/A

Just why Sergi Roberto was brought off the bench, I will never know. If the starters couldn't get it done, why and how would the inexperienced and out of practice Roberto change the game?

Pedro 4.0
Minutes played: 5
Touches: 8
Passes: 5
Pass Accuracy: 60%

Arron says: N/A

And as a result of that rather odd substitution, we were forced to wait until the dying minutes of the game to introduce Pedro, probably the only player on that bench capable of salvaging a point from the proceedings. By then, it was too late.

The Team 3.6
Passes: 599
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Shots/Shots on Target: 11/2
Tackles: 23
Aerial Battles Won: 43%
Fouls Won/Committed: 16/10

Arron says: 6.0

I must have missed the memo that suggested that Barcelona should win every single one of their fixtures, irrespective of form, location and injuries. Was it a poor performance? Sure, but did you really anticipate an easy ride against an Athletic Bilbao side unbeaten at their new home, especially given that the Blaugrana without the likes of Lionel Messi and Dani Alves? These things happen in football, and my advice is that if you don't like it, you better get used to it -- and fast.

Gerardo Martino 3.7

Arron says: 6.0

After all, Martino is not perfect; neither was Tito Vilanova and surprisingly, nor was Pep Guardiola. Matches like this have become increasingly common since the final year of Pep's reign and despite the confident remarks of all the armchair managers, there is no quick fix. And might I point out, at present there is no desperate requirement for such a solution either. Despite this defeat, Barcelona remain atop the standings for the 53rd successive matchday.

MOTM - Pinto 30%

Arron says: Pinto

Pinto claimed a rare Man of the Match award for his inspired performance between the Barca sticks, arguably one of the few positives we can take from this performance.

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