Marc-Andre ter Stegen 7.0
Made a vital save at 0-0 to prevent the visitors taking the lead. A point blank save was more due to good positioning as he clawed it away for Jordi Alba to clear. Although he did flap at a cross just before half time which allowed Real Sociedad a way back into the game.
Jordi Alba 7.0
Making his return to the starting elven, his performance made some question why he had dropped to the bench in the first place. Consistently providing an option on the wing, he mixed attack with defence as his pace stopped plenty of Sociedad attacks. However, there were also times when he was caught out, pushed too high up the pitch.
Samuel Umtiti 7.5
Unfortunate to score an own goal as there was little he could do about it. A deflection off of ter Stegen hit Umtiti as he was covering the goal line. He kicked the post in frustration but there is not a lot of blame to give to him. However he was at a fault for the visitors’ second. He had moved out of position and allowed Xabi Prieto to run in behind him.
Gerard Piqué 5.5
A very poor game in terms of Piqué’s high standards. Made no tackles or interceptions in the first 70 minutes and did not have his usual level of influence on the game. Made a couple of vital blocks in the first half during one of Sociedad’s stronger periods but Barça could have used a dominating performance from their main defender.
Sergi Roberto 6.0
A fairly solid game from Roberto but he looked vulnerable at times. Not much of an attacking threat aside from a cross to Andre Gomes but did his defensive duties.
Sergio Busquets 7.0
Saw plenty of the ball as he made a welcome return into the team following his absence midweek. His quick pass Messi allowed him to create Barça’s second. Making the joint highest amount of tackles and only Umtiti made more interceptions. The defender was also the only starter to have a higher pass success rate than Busquets.
Ivan Rakitić 6.0
A little bit of a quiet game from Rakitić. His passing accuracy was below 80% which shows how he wasn’t quite up to the mark. Made plenty of crosses but not all of them came off. Had a couple of shots in the second half but didn’t challenge the keeper.
Andre Gomes 6.0
Looked hesitant as it he was playing with little confidence. This was most demonstrated in the 34th minute when instead of firing off a volley from a Sergi Roberto cross, he chose to turn around and pass it instead. Didn’t seem shy to get on the ball but looked unwilling to take risks. Given the hook in the 69th minute for Andrés Iniesta.
Lionel Messi 8.5
Scorer of the opening two goals, Messi dictated the game. Seeing plenty of the ball, he was the man in which Barça’s attacks went through. Continually made chances with late runs from the centre of the pitch and one of these runs allowed him to double Barça’s lead. A deflection from a Suárez shot rebounded to him and he stretched back to knock it in. Just before the break, he slid the ball through for Alcácer to score Barça’s third.
Luis Suárez 7.0
Unlucky not to score himself as he worked hard to win the ball back in Sociedad’s box. His shot was saved but Messi was on hand to tap it home. Continually looked to close down Sociedad’s players and rob the ball high up the pitch. Perhaps should have been substituted with the return leg against Juventus in mind.
Paco Alcácer 6.0
Missed an absolute sitter when he had a chance to make it 2-0. A ball was squared across to him and he could not get his feet sorted as he sliced it wide. However, just before the break he got his goal. A through ball from Messi was well finished by Paco as he restored Barça’s two goal advantage. Replaced late in the game as Barça looked to consolidate their lead.
Andrés Iniesta 6.5
Brought on as a controlling influence to slow the game down at a time when Real Sociedad were pushing for an equaliser. This comes natural to him but there were occasions when he was almost pressured into giving the ball away.
Denis Suárez N/A
Brought on for yet another substitute performance. With ten minutes to go, there wasn’t a lot of time to make any real impact.
Luis Enrique 6.0
Switched back to a 4-3-3 and the introduction of Alba helped but the team’s defence remained shaky. The away side were the better team in the second half and Barça were hanging on.
The Team 6.5
Some class from Messi was enough for Barça but it will be a concern of how easy Sociedad dictated the second half play.
Man of the Match - Lionel Messi
Two goals and an assist from Barça’s star man was the key to victory.