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

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A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's hard-fought win against Athletic Bilbao.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Claudio Bravo
7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 77
Passes: 61
Pass Accuracy: 72%
Shots Faced: 2
Saves Made: 2
Cross Claims: 1

Bostjan says: 6.5

A fairly straightforward game for Bravo who wasn't necessarily tested much, making only a pair of saves, but didn't quite look comfortable with the ball at his feet in this one. All too often he rushed his passes, even when he wasn't under pressure, resulting in a few too many misplaced balls, some of which resulted in quick counter attacks, though none led to dangerous chances. Bravo looked the most "at home" in the air where he claimed everything that came into his air space.

Dani Alves
5.9
Minutes played: 18
Touches: 16
Passes: 13
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 2
Tackles: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Clearances: 0
Fouls: 0
Interceptions: 0

Bostjan says: 6.0

Not quite the La Liga season debut Alves had envisioned as he was forced off with an injury in the 19th minute. It might have been a blessing in disguise though as Alves was having a forgettable game up until that point, turning the ball over far too often. Defensively the Brazilian was solid, but he wasn't really tested much in that time.

Javier Mascherano 7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 104
Passes: 88
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 7
Aerial Duels Won: 4

Bostjan says: 7.5

Another game in which Mascherano started in the heart of the defense but later moved to the midfield, and he performed excellently regardless of where he played. While he was outperformed by his center-back partner, Vermaelen, but that was not a knock against El Jefecito, as the Argentine also made a large number of excellent plays, but he just couldn't match the Belgian's productivity.

Thomas Vermaelen
7.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 106
Passes: 83
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 16
Aerial Duels Won: 4
Fouls: 1

Bostjan says: 8.0

To say this was Vermalen's best game in a Barcelona shirt would be an understatement, as the Belgian international made numerous plays that defused dangerous situations. Consistently he was in good position to make the play, both on the ground and in the air, where he mostly excellently handled the aerial monster that is Aritz Aduriz. Vermalen did pick up a yellow card midway through the second half, but it was a "good foul", stopping a quick counter.

Jordi Alba
7.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 90
Passes: 82
Pass Accuracy: 78%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 1
Clearances: 2
Key Passes: 1
Turnovers: 0

Bostjan says: 7.5

Returning from injury Alba showed how important he is to the Barça game, in all aspects of the game. Early in the game some rust was showing in the speedster's game, but as the match progressed Alba improved and started making plays both on offense and defense. In the end Alba was one of the key players in the important win, providing the assist for the only goal of the opener.

Sergio Busquets
7.3
Minutes played: 67
Touches: 61
Passes: 52
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 1
Clearances: 2
Turnovers: 1
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Key Passes: 0
Fouls Won: 4

Sam says: 7.0

Busquets was performing reasonably well up until his injury. Barcelona needed to stop the Athletic pressure that led to the Supercopa defeat and Busquets was the man to do this. Making three tackles and an interception stopped counterattacks from forming. However, his passing was slightly less accurate than usual at 87%. He was forced to retire early with what looked to be a pretty serious ankle injury but later tests showed he was fine.

Ivan Rakitić
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 78
Passes: 67
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Turnovers: 2
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 0
Interceptions: 2

Sam says: 6.5

Similar to the Supercopa games, Rakitic was quiet in this game and found it difficult to make an impact against Athletic. He didn't manage any shots and his passing accuracy was just 80%, much lower than his usual. Defensively, he was solid but did pick up a yellow card.

Andres Iniesta
7.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 75
Passes: 64
Pass Accuracy: 83%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Fouls Won: 2
Turnovers: 3
Successful Dribbles: 0
Key Passes: 5
Tackles: 3

Sam says: 7.0

Similar to his midfield partners, Iniesta didn’t have such a algae influence on the game, which is to be expected against a well organised team. He completed just 64 passes with an accuracy of 83% but did put in a bigger defensive performance than he usually does. Making three tackles and an interception helped maintain Barça’s slender lead.

Luis Suarez
8.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 44
Passes: 30
Pass Accuracy: 70%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/2
Turnovers: 7
Successful Dribbles: 0
Key Passes: 1
Fouls Won: 4
Fouls: 4

Sonia says: 8.0

Suarez was probably the best forward on the pitch last match. He had a decent game and deservedly scored the winner, which was also probably the highlight of the match for a Barca that still seem off from their treble-winning selves. It was a great goal - he was wide open, got the ball, and took his chance. Considering that one of the links in MSN was gone, the striker in the middle did pretty good.

Lionel Messi
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 74
Passes: 52
Pass Accuracy: 75%
Shots/Shots on Target: 4/2
Fouls Won: 0
Successful Dribbles: 9
Key Passes: 1
Turnovers: 4
Tackles: 1

Sonia says: 7.5

Not a great game for Messi overall, though at times he was definitely able to show his quality. Throughout the match, he was forced to drop back for Rafinha. In the first half, his most notable move was his missed penalty. In all honesty, the missed penalty was not a very good one. It had neither enough power nor enough precision to get past the goalkeeper. He was better the second half though, and had a great chance which unfortunately was missed. Messi was still obviously the GOAT, but a rather underwhelming version of himself with a comparatively poor performance. The last 15 minutes showed his quality, but the rest of the match was just bad.


Rafinha 6.4
Minutes played: 81
Touches: 43
Passes: 34
Pass Accuracy: 68%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 1
Key Passes: 3
Successful Dribbles: 0
Turnovers: 1

Sonia says: 5.0

Rafinha had an underwhelming and generally poor game. He made multiple mistakes and rash decisions. Rafinha really isn’t a great fit in this role and definitely does better in midfield. Fortunately, he is only filling in at LW because of Neymar’s mumps. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that Raf will be back in midfield soon and that we’ll have Neymar starring alongside Messi and Suarez again. He honestly didn’t make any significant contributions to the game - I guess none of his mistakes were ones that could have cost us the game, but nothing he did helped us win wither.

Sergi Roberto 8.2
Minutes played: 72
Touches: 56
Passes: 33
Pass Accuracy: 82%
Successful Dribbles: 4

Kevin says: 8.0

Well, are we finally seeing a player here? Limited game time over the past 2 seasons have made it hard for Sergi to leave much of an imprint on matches, largely looking pedestrian when introduced into midfield. Brought on at the right side of defence just before the midway point of the first half, Roberto was arguably the best player on the park for the remainder of the game. His approach was a little less daring in attack than would normally be seen from Alves, instead turning in a diligent defensive performance that involved a hell of a lot of running. Going forward though he still managed to show his worth by striking the framework with a crashing shot and providing a number of good crosses (haven't seen too many of them come from the right flank of late). With Dani likely to be sidelined for at least one match and Douglas also out with an injury, expect the Catalan to start on the right this weekend when Malaga visit.

Marc Bartra
6.3
Minutes played: 23
Touches: 19
Passes: 13
Pass Accuracy: 54%
Clearances: 4

Kevin says: 6.0

After two forgetful performances on the trot, the pressure was on Bartra to produce a performance that restored the faith Culés worldwide have put in him. The defender had spoken during the week leading up to the game about learning from his mistakes and growing as a player and this game was his chance. The injury to Busquets meant that Javier Mascherano pushed forward into pivote and Bartra slotted in to centre half alongside Vermaelen in a pairing that none of us ever expected to see in the first league fixture of the season. His contribution was not flashy nor did he draw attention to himself but he held firm in the Barça backline at a crucial point in the game. Right now, that's a step in the right direction.

Sandro Ramirez
5.9
Minutes played: 9
Touches: 3
Passes: 2
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0

Kevin says: N/A

Brought on too late to warrant a full rating.

The Team 7.4
Passes: 693
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots/Shots on Target: 10/4
Tackles: 19
Aerial Battles Won: 45%
Fouls Won/Committed: 11/16

Sonia says: 7.5

The team had an alright day facing Athletic the third time this season. The result is nothing to go down in history, but we got a goal courtesy of Suarez, and we have the three points. At least we won’t have to face Bilbao again for a while, and when we do it will be at the Camp Nou. Certainly the defence did very well, even if the attack was underwhelming. Barca succeeded in keeping the clean sheet, which is our first of the season. Sergi Roberto starred at RB and was arguably better than Alves who he replaced. Vermaelen also did well and seems to have left his injury behind. Hopefully the attack will be able to click the way the defence has with the completion of MSN upon Neymar’s return.

Luis Enrique
7.5

Kevin says: 8.0

The manager sent out an unchanged front and midfield line from the previous match. It may have taken the last few games to remind us just how pivotal Jordi Alba is when fit so Lucho was correct in reintroducing the man from L'Hospitalet who went on to assist the winning goal. The inclusion of Vermaelen Bartra was a surprise if only because we've used to seeing him fill in that slot at centre back. Vermaelen turned in an excellent performance, aerially dominant if somewhat cautious with his passing output. Another decision vindicated by the manager who also made the correct call in replacing Alves with Roberto. The game wasn't pretty but after the two previous results, find us a Culé who won't be happy about it!

MOTM - Sergi Roberto
29%

Bostjan says: Roberto

In what has to be the closest three-man race in BB history, it was the midfielder turned right-back, Roberto, who won the Man of the Match award. Roberto edged Vermaelen, who finished in second place, by just two percent. Suarez completed the podium with 22%.