Sergio Roberto loves El Clasico
Ernesto Valverde tinkered with his starting XI for this one bringing Arthur back into midfield and dropping Sergi Roberto back into the right-back slot in place of Nelson Semedo.
It was not an entirely unexpected move given how Semedo had had his hands full with Vinicius Junior during Barca’s 3-0 win on Wednesday night in the Copa del Rey.
It proved to be a good move too with Roberto doing a solid job against the young Brazilian, with the help of Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic (and also Arturo Vidal who put in an impressive late cameo after arriving as a substitute).
Roberto also played a key role in the only goal of the match, getting forwards and supplying the pass from which Rakitic dinked over Thibaut Courtois:
As you can see Roberto seems to thrive against Los Blancos:
Semedo seemed to have cemented his place as Barca’s first-choice right-back in recent weeks, but Roberto’s performance suggested that might not be quite the case.
Underrated Rakitic deserves more credit
Ivan Rakitic was the match-winner for Barcelona at the Bernabeu with a lovely finish over Courtois that capped a brilliant performance from the midfielder.
The Croatian completely outshone compatriot and Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in midfield with a dominant display from start to finish.
He’s also another player who seems to love playing Real Madrid:
Ivan Rakitić has now scored four career goals against Real Madrid; Real Betis are the only club he has scored more against (5).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 2, 2019
Two for Sevilla. Two for Barcelona. All at the Bernabéu. pic.twitter.com/4Rl5TE4c3W
Rakitic certainly doesn’t get the credit Modric does, but the 30-year-old was integral to this victory both defensively and going forwards.
Pique is a monster
Gerard Pique continued his fine form with another superb showing against Real Madrid.
The centre-back seemed to always be in the right place at the right time as he helped Barcelona secure a second clean sheet in four days at the Bernabeu.
He also supplied some great entertainment with a lengthy dribble that saw him go past his own goalkeeper with Karim Benzema chasing after him.
Pique seems to thrive at the home of Real Madrid, and he explained after the game how much he enjoys playing at the Bernabeu.
“I love coming here. This is why I’m a professional, to play games like this in this atmosphere. It can de difficult to motivate yourself for other games.”
Source | Sport
Pique is in some form right now, the only concern is that he’s played in pretty much every match this season and will need a rest at some point.