Friday, September 29, 2023

Messi Impresses With A 8.5 But Griezmann Flops | Barcelona Players Rated In Draw With Napoli

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Barcelona managed to get an away goal by drawing with Napoli 1-1 in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash in the UEFA Champions League.

It was a frantic start to the first half as Barcelona dominated the proceedings. The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but it was Napoli who remained stable at the back. They allowed very little space and played on the counter, which paid off when Dries Mertens scored the opener in the 30th minute with an excellent finish.

Barcelona responded in the second half with an equaliser through Antoine Griezmann. The Catalans also looked the better side after the goal, but ultimately they failed to find the winner despite coming very close, at times.

Here are the Barcelona players rated in their draw with Napoli.

Barcelona Players Rated In Draw With Napoli

Marc Andre ter Stegen 8.5/10

Made two priceless saves to prevent Napoli from doubling their tally. Those saves are going to be very important if Barcelona do manage to advance through to the next round.

Nelson Semedo 8/10

Semedo was pretty good going forward, offering support to Arturo Vidal and Lionel Messi on the right flank. Did look nervy, at times, during the defensive phases and struggled to deal with the tricky Lorenzo Insigne. But, it was overall a decent display from the Portuguese.

Gerard Pique 7/10

Pique was barely tested in the first half, and he couldn’t have done anything to stop Mertens as it was indeed an excellent strike. In the second half, however, the Spaniard had to be extra careful. In the end, though, he was rather unlucky to twist his ankle, forcing him to leave the pitch.

Samuel Umtiti 6.5/10

Much like Pique, Umtiti was also barely tested by the Napoli attackers. But, he struggled in one v one duels, which is a worrying sign for Quique Setien.

Junior Firpo 6/10

Firpo’s nifty footwork often allows him to ease the transition from the wide areas of the pitch. However, his poor defensive game still needs to improve if he is to become an ideal long-term replacement for Jordi Alba.

Sergio Busquets 8/10

Busquets made a few questionable tackles and even earned a yellow card that rules him out of the second leg. On the flip side, though, the Spaniard was the only player who was being able to find direct passes into the final third. Not to mention, he was the one who found Semedo in behind the defence for the equaliser. A solid show from the Barcelona star.

Napoli’s German midfielder Diego Demme (L) vies for the ball with Barcelona’s Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg football match between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples on February 25, 2020. (Photo by CARLO HERMANN / AFP via Getty Images)

Ivan Rakitic 6.5/10

Failed to make any difference after starting in central midfield. He was often overwhelmed by the Napoli defenders whenever he tried moving forward with the ball. He was deservedly taken off in the second half.

Frenkie de Jong 7/10

de Jong failed to make an impact in the first half. After the goal, however, the Dutch international became more expressive in midfield and created a few turnovers. His ability to move the ball across the final third made Barcelona more dangerous going forward.

Arturo Vidal 7.5/10

Vidal may not have made the impact one was hoping for. But, his physical presence in attack made life difficult for the Napoli defenders, especially Mario Rui. But, some ugly acts late in the game saw him receive two back to back yellows and rightly so.

Lionel Messi 8.5/10

Messi was arguably Barcelona’s best player of the night. The Argentine missed an excellent opportunity to assist Griezmann early in the game. But, his neat flicks and turns bamboozled the Napoli defenders, and he was rather unlucky not to find the back of the net.

Antoine Griezmann 7/10

Griezmann was barely involved in the proceedings even in the second half when Barcelona were dominating. Even though he did end up scoring the equaliser, the Frenchman should have done a lot better tonight.


Arthur Melo 7.5/10

Arthur replaced the ineffective Rakitic in the 56th minute and offered a more technical presence in midfield. He also created a few turnovers and helped Barcelona play with more confidence in midfield.

Ansu Fati N/A

A late replacement for Griezmann. The youngster should have been brought in much earlier, though.

Clement Lenglet N/A

Replaced Pique after he left the pitch due to a twisted ankle.

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