UEFA Champions League: PSG 2-2 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's 2-2 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first-leg draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes

Victor Valdés 6.7
Minutes played90
Touches28
Passes13
Pass Accuracy46%
Shots Faced5
Saves Made3

Arron says7.5

Valdés came up big on Tuesday night, delivering a number of decent saves that complimented his solid all-round play. Rushing from his line in the opening stages of the match, Valdés potentially put Ezequiel Lavezzi off at the crucial moment; without his "intervention", maybe Lavezzi would have put the Parisians ahead? Admittedly there were moments that had me on the edge of my seat – when Valdés spilled Javier Pastore’s venomous effort for instance – but overall, I can have no qualms with Valdés’ performance.

Dani Alves 8.2
Minutes played90
Touches99
Passes69
Pass Accuracy91%
Key Passes3
Tackles5
Interceptions4
Turnovers4
Fouls Won1
Successful Dribbles4

Arron says8.5

Just look at the statistics: Dani Alves did everything. He led the team in tackles, interceptions, key passes; in fact, he even completed the most dribbles. While we will likely remember this match for his fabulous assist (immortalised in .gif format below), it’s worth mentioning that with Messi sitting on the bench it was Dani Alves – not Iniesta, or Xavi – who led the team by example.

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Gerard Pique 6.3
Minutes played90
Touches47
Passes35
Pass Accuracy91%
Tackles1
Interceptions0
Clearances9

Arron says6.5

The Parc des Princes were treated to a sensational performance by the best centre-half in the world on Tuesday – of course we’re not talking about Gerard Piqué. That title goes to a certain Brazilian (perhaps the only player capable of defending the Blaugrana attack without resorting to underhand tactics *cough* Pepe, *ahem* Ramos), and on the back of this display, one might question whether Piqué should even be included in the conversation anymore. On his night, Piqué is without a question one of the best in the world, but those nights are becoming increasingly rare; and instead we are "treated" to performances like this. For the most part, Piqué was good, but there were moments when he really could have cost Barcelona a goal – and the less said about his new-found desire to lunge in at every player that dribbles towards him the better.

Javier Mascherano 6.3
Minutes played84
Touches58
Passes52
Pass Accuracy90%
Tackles3
Interceptions1
Clearances2

Arron says7.0

Similar to Piqué, Mascherano put in an adequate shift in the centre of defense even if we also know that Mascherano can do better. Regardless of that, Mascherano is probably still our best centre-half and losing him for six weeks could be the coup de grace for Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League challenge.

Jordi Alba 6.7
Minutes played90
Touches97
Passes73
Pass Accuracy90%
Key Passes0
Tackles0
Interceptions2
Turnovers2
Clearances4

Arron says6.5

I didn’t see an awful lot from Jordi Alba on Tuesday – from either a positive or a negative standpoint. With Lucas Moura ready to capitalise on any mistakes, I suppose Alba had no choice but to play a little more conservatively – even if that did leave Alexis Sánchez a little isolated on the left-hand side of attack.

Sergio Busquets 6.7
Minutes played90
Touches67
Passes59
Pass Accuracy83%
Tackles3
Interceptions0
Fouls Won2
Shots Blocked2

Arron says6.5

Would it be fair to say that we expect better from Sergio Busquets? The Catalan midfielder is usually so dominant – regardless of opposition – that it came as quite a shock to see him as subdued as he was on Tuesday. Busquets had a lot to contend with – Javier Pastore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi – but like I said before, that never usually stops him from controlling the midfield. With Busquets ever so slightly off his game, PSG were able to turn the game into an end-to-end affair, which very much suited the hosts in the first-half even if they did enter the break a goal down.

Xavi Hernández 7.9
Minutes played90
Touches131
Passes118
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target3/1
Turnovers1
Key Passes1

Arron says7.5

Given that both Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano picked up injuries of one kind or another, it’s almost a minor miracle that Xavi completed this match unscathed. Inserted straight back into the starting XI after injury, Xavi showed no signs of "rust" – or even the slightest indication that he was ever injured in the first place – to establish himself as the dominant figure in either midfield on Tuesday. David Beckham couldn’t keep up with his pace; Blaise Matuidi had no answers for his partnership with Andrés Iniesta; the only thing missing from Xavi’s performance on Tuesday was an assist.

Andrés Iniesta 7.5
Minutes played90
Touches114
Passes103
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Fouls Won3
Turnovers1
Key Passes1

Arron says7.0

The statistics clearly show that Andrés Iniesta performed well on Tuesday, even if he wasn’t directly involved with either Barcelona goal. There were times when I was a little "disappointed" with Iniesta; in Messi’s absence I was half-expecting him to take the initiative and secure the win – even if it was a little naive.

Alexis Sánchez 6.3
Minutes played90
Touches65
Passes47
Pass Accuracy89%
Shots/Shots on Target4/1
Fouls Won3
Successful Dribbles0
Key Passes0
Turnovers5
Tackles5

Arron says7.0

It didn’t matter that Alexis won the penalty that put the Blaugrana ahead (again), because he missed a few chances. It didn’t matter that he made more tackles than Thiago Silva, because he missed a few chances; and it sure as hell didn’t matter that he made three times as many touches as David Villa or that he was probably Barcelona’s most dangerous attacker in the absence of Lionel Messi, because, you guessed it, he missed a few chances. It was obvious from the penalty that Sánchez still has the upper-hand over Sirigu (Alexis scored four past the Italian keeper back in his days with Udinese), and, regardless of whether he scores or not, this match demonstrated that Sánchez can still be a valuable member of the Barça attack.

Lionel Messi 8.0
Minutes played45
Touches52
Passes43
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Fouls Won0
Successful Dribbles1
Key Passes2
Turnovers3

Arron says8.0

If only Messi could have completed the 90 minutes. Scorer of the game’s opening goal, Messi was far and away the best player on Tuesday night, even if he was forced off at the interval with a thigh injury.

David Villa 6.0
Minutes played81
Touches23
Passes20
Pass Accuracy85%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Fouls Won1
Key Passes0
Turnovers2

Arron says6.0

Villa might have created space for Messi and Sánchez, but it’s hard to look favourably upon his performance on Tuesday night. Anonymous for large stretches of the game, it almost felt like Villa didn’t want to take on the PSG defense. With Iniesta, Xavi, Messi and later on, Fàbregas all in support, it’s not Villa would have been devoid of supply. So, I did a little digging and was rather unsurprised to see that 11 of Villa’s 14 goals this season have come at the Camp Nou. That means he has struck just three times away from home – and one of those three was against Alaves. Should we be worried?

Cesc Fabregas 6.1
Minutes played45
Touches35
Passes23
Pass Accuracy91%
Key Passes2

Arron says7.0

I’d say that Cesc Fàbregas performed well as Messi’s substitute in the second half. He isn’t at the peak of his powers, but Fàbregas still created a couple of chances and rather amusingly, he formed a decent partnership with Alexis Sánchez.

Cristian Tello 5.8
Minutes played9
Touches4
Passes3
Pass Accuracy100%

Arron saysN/A

Tello barely saw a touch of the ball in his short time on the field, so I felt it would be unfair to give him a rating.

Marc Bartra 5.4
Minutes played6
Touches0
Passes0
Pass Accuracy0%

Arron saysN/A

Like Tello, it would be unfair to give Bartra a full rating.

The Team 6.9
Passes684
Pass Accuracy91%
Shots/Shots on Target15/5
Tackles21
Aerial Battles Won21%
Fouls Won/Committed13/13

Arron says7.0

Could be better, could be worse. With the injuries, a 2-2 draw is less than ideal. Even at the Camp Nou, there are question marks over the Barca defense, and if Messi isn't ready to lead the attack; well, it's hard to see where the goals are going to come from. However, while they did threaten Valdes' goal, PSG only got on the scoresheet thanks to a mistake from the assistant referee; overall I think we can be pleased with the team's efforts.

Tito Vilanova 6.7

Arron says7.0

Tito's back! Just a shame we couldn't celebrate his return with a win.

MOTM - Alves 42%

Arron saysAlves

With 42% of the vote, Alves saw off competition from Lionel Messi to notch his first MoTM award of the season.

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