Antoine Griezmann was the only standout performer on the night as Deportivo Alaves held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Mendizorroza.
It was a rather eventful night at Estadio de Mendizorroza as Barcelona locked horns with Deportivo Alaves on Matchday 8 of the La Liga season. While the game started slowly, Barcelona were able to create several half chances inside the first 30 minutes, with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann not able to make the most of Ansu Fati’s cut-backs.
A minute past the half an hour mark, though, Alaves were gifted a chance when Neto failed to control Gerard Pique’s pass. Luis Roja rushed in to steal the ball off him and bulged the net.
FULL TIME pic.twitter.com/WHJLEQGWzZ
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 31, 2020
Three half-time substitutes could only change the game so much, as Barcelona chased the game for half an hour. Soon after that, they too were presented their goal on a plate as Tomas Pina’s back pass found its way to Griezmann, who dinked Fernando Pacheco for the equaliser. The rest of the game was a poor finishing as Barcelona went winless in four in the league.
After starting his Barcelona stint in tremendous fashion, Neto was let down by his own overthinking as he rushed to collect the ball from Gerard Pique, whose weight on the pass turned out to be heavy for the Brazilian because of their distance. Instead of clearing the ball first time, Neto’s took a touch which let him down and arguably cost Barcelona the three points.
Sergi Roberto: 7.5/10
The first half was a challenging for Roberto as he failed to find space on the wing where Ousmane Dembele had made his home. The second half was the opposite, though, as he ran the show, giving five key passes, making two tackles and one crucial interception.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
The defence had only so much to do in this game as Alaves sat back after scoring. While it can be argued that Pique was at fault for the goal they conceded, in his defence, the pass was meant for Neto who was in the six-yard box, and not near the penalty line. Other than that, a solid game from the Spaniard, as he completed 100 passes, 4/4 long balls and lost possession just thrice.
Clement Lenglet: 7/10
Clement Lenglet started the game superbly, nearly registering an assist as he slid a slick pass between the Alaves midfield for Fati, only for the 18-year-old to put it wide. Nonetheless, apart from the yellow card he picked, Lenglet did not put a foot wrong and won three tackles.
Jordi Alba: 5/10
It was an invisible night for Jordi Alba, as he took no more than 62 touches and attempted a mere 40 passes (12 less than his average of 52).
Sergio Busquets: 4/10
At this point, the less said about Busquets, the better. He has gone from becoming an undisputed starter in the Barcelona midfield to a player the fans are crying out to be benched. The Spaniard did nothing of importance on the night and was substituted at half time, which sped up the game.
First decision for Koeman is an easy one: Busquets must no longer be first choice. He became a liability off the ball a couple of years ago and will only become more so.
— Andy West (@andywest01) October 31, 2020
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
There is a reason why Frenkie de Jong has started every game so far for the team and will continue to do so in the centre of the park. He completed 96 passes, 3/3 of his long passes and created one chance for the team. He also came close to scoring a header in the first half only to put it above the bar. Played as a centre-back in the second half and did not put a foot wrong.
Ousmane Dembele: 5/10
Multiple instances in the first half saw Dembele over-hitting his own dribbles as he failed to control the ball. Additionally, none of his three attempted cut-backs reached their man and were cleared easily.
Lionel Messi: 7.5/10
Lionel Messi, by no means, was poor; in fact, he made 4 key passes, came close to scoring on multiple occasions, and completed 12 of his 15 attempted dribbles. However, the bar he has set is such that it would only be fair to admit that he was ineffective according to his own standards, and on multiple occasions, should have pulled the trigger earlier.
Ansu Fati: 7/10
Not the outing Ansu Fati probably wanted on his 18th birthday. Returned to the starting XI on the left and failed to take the biggest chance of the game through a Clement Lenglet pass. On the flip side, he made three key passes and was constantly on the lookout to help his team defensively.
Antoine Griezmann: 8/10
Inarguably Barcelona’s best player on the night, Griezmann was constantly on the run finding space left by the Alavés defence. He also made himself available in the centre of the park on multiple occasions as a passing option for de Jong and Busquets. Like always, did the job defensively as well, clearing the ball thrice and making three successful tackles.
Antoine Griezmann has scored his first LaLiga goal of the season for Barcelona with his seventh shot of the season.
Off the mark finally. pic.twitter.com/6kZoht2gQc
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 31, 2020
Even though he missed a great opportunity in the first half, Griezmann got his reward in the second when Pina’s pass found its way to him, as he chipped Pacheco comfortably for Barcelona’s equaliser. The World Cup winner is slowly growing into the team with every passing game and Barcelona can hope that the goal does his confidence a world of good.
Miralem Pjanic: 7.5/19
The most impactful of the triple sub made at half time, Pjanic made more passes in the second half than Busquets and de Jong combined in the first. He also created two openings, one of which found its way past seven men into Messi’s path, only to bounce an inch wide. There is little denying the Bosnian’s ability on the ball, and it will not take long before he becomes an undisputed starter for the club.
Pedri was let down by the level he set with his performance against Juventus as he failed to make a mark in the second half. He played in four key passes, one of which was a scrumptious through ball to Trincao.
Fransisco Trincao: 6/10
Despite getting an entire second half to himself, Trincao failed to do anything of substance.
Sergino Dest: 6/10
Brought on to replace Alba on the left side, Dest was not able to make a mark, or mirror his man of the match performance against Real Madrid.
Martin Braithwaite: N/A
Had one touch of the ball, which he passed safely to Pedri.