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FC Barcelona Power Rankings: Week Three; Messi Reigns Supreme

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One Jornada down, only 37 left to endure. On the basis of their performance on Sunday, it’s difficult to tell just how FC Barcelona’s season might play out – which is just as well, I mean, who really looks forward to hyperbolic conclusions based on a single match anyway? Or, to look at it from another perspective, we won – at a tough venue – while Real Madrid stumbled against newly-promoted Sporting Gijon.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good start.

***

1)  Lionel Messi

Last week: 1

I could have been contentious and dropped him down a place for his penalty miss, but come on, it’s Lionel Messi. Plus, he improved at the tail-end of the match and very nearly scored another FIFA Puskas Award contender by dribbling past half the Bilbao defense. Watch out though Leo, everyone else is on your tail…

2)  Luis Suarez

Last week: 4

We are one week into the season proper, and Luis Suarez has already won us three points. Well, technically two points, but you get the picture. Suarez’ contributions in this match were absolutely pivotal to our efforts – and let’s face it, he’s the only member of the squad who was capable of delivering in that instance as a pure number nine. Me gusta.

3)  Ivan Rakitic

Last week: 6

Did you see that pass that switched play to Jordi Alba for the crucial winning goal? Yep, that came from the heavenly right boot of Ivan Rakitic. Case closed.

4)  Claudio Bravo

Last week: 3

Goals conceded without Claudio Bravo: 9. Goals conceded with Claudio Bravo: 1. Need I say any more?

5)  Jordi Alba

Last week: 10

God bless you Jordi for returning from injury. His cross and pace on the overlap is exactly what we have been missing and by heavens, it’s great to have it back.

6)  Neymar

Last week: 5

We might have won, but we still obviously need Neymar back. Maybe this will be the week he makes his season debut?

7)  Andres Iniesta

Last week: 7

No change for our captain after a solid, albeit unspectacular midfield display. I still disagree with anyone who says he is on the decline though.

8)  Sergio Busquets

Last week: 8

Curiously enough, I have a suspicion that Busi might rise next week, pending our performance without him anchoring the midfield.

9)  Javier Mascherano

Last week: 9

Versatile, and ever dependable. Mascherano continues to earn his place in the top ten.

10)  Gerard Pique

Last week: 2

It’s gonna be a long time before Pique returns and now that reality has sunken in, I’m pretty pissed. Sorry Geri, but you’re this week’s biggest drop.

11)  Rafinha

Last week: 11

There was nothing special about his display on Sunday, but there was nothing overtly offensive about it either. At times, Rafinha also used his Brazilian trickery to get me on the edge of my seat which can only be seen as a positive.

12)  Sergi Roberto

Last week: 17

Wait a minute, is Sergi Roberto actually better at right-back? It sure looked that way on Sunday and I’m not at all concerned about Alves’ injury if he can keep this up.

13)  Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Last week: 14

It’s week three and I have run out of things to say about ter Stegen.

14)  Dani Alves

Last week: 13

Even before his injury, Dani didn’t look all that great, so I’m dropping him one spot in the rankings.

15)  Thomas Vermaelen

Last week: 21

OK, am I the only one who didn’t buy into the Vermaelen hype after Sunday? Yes, we kept a clean sheet and he made an excellent challenge towards the end, but was rarely tested and his desire to shout at the Athletic forward after his impeccable challenge could have cost us a goal if not for Bravo’s quick-thinking. Oh, and that whole passage was offside anyway so really, who cares. One good performance doesn’t make a player…

16)  Jeremy Mathieu

Last week: 16

Where did you go, Jeremy?

17)  Marc Bartra

Last week: 19

Not a bad showing from Marc, but improvement would still be welcomed.

18)  Sandro

Last week: 15

Another cameo, and more enthusiastic running from Sandro.

19)  Munir el Haddadi

Last week: 18

20)  Adriano Correia

Last week: 20

21)  Douglas

Last week: 23

22)  Jordi Masip

Last week: 24

(Unranked: Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal, Alex Song)