Adama Traore impressed on his second debut for Barcelona as they thrashed Atletico Madrid 4-2 at Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday afternoon.
In what was a crucial encounter in the La Liga top-four race, Atletico Madrid got off the mark first when Yannick Carrasco fired past Marc-Andre ter Stegen after being set up by ex-Barcelona star Luis Suarez. The Catalans struck back minutes later, with defender Jordi Alba levelling things up with a stunning strike.
Barcelona continued to grow into a bigger threat with every passing minute, with Adama Traore causing all sorts of problems on the right. The new signing created the second goal, delivering a fine cross for Gavi, who headed in from close range. Close to half-time, the Blaugrana made it 3-1 as Ronald Araujo produced a venomous strike from close range after Ferran Torres’ headed effort had bounced off the crossbar.
Four minutes into the second half, Barcelona killed the tie off as Dani Alves hit a stunning finish from the edge of the area, sending a packed Camp Nou into raptures. However, Atletico Madrid kept pushing and found a second goal, with Luis Suarez turning home a cross from close range. They were offered some hope of a comeback when Alves was shown a red card for a rash kick-out on Carrasco.
However, the reigning champions could not pierce the Blaugrana net again as the hosts held on for a vital win. The result sends Xavi’s men into fourth place in the table, two points clear of Atletico, who drop down to fifth. Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after an exciting match-up at Camp Nou.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5.5/10
The German stopper might have done a tad better to try and stop Carrasco’s effort in the first half, but there was not much he could do to deny Suarez. His distribution on the night was a bit of a mixed bag as there were times when he helped start attacks, while some passes invited pressure on his team.
Dani Alves: 6/10
Making his long-awaited return at Camp Nou, the Brazilian was his typical energetic self as he bombed up and down the right flank with purpose. Alves set up the opening goal for Alba and then produced a thumping finish to make it 4-1 early in the second period. However, he undid his good work by kicking out at Carrasco, leading to his sending off, which eats into his rating. Thankfully for him, Atletico failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage.
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Ronald Araujo: 7.5/10
The Uruguayan was caught out in the leadup to Atletico’s opener on the night. But Araujo improved after that early misstep and did not let Joao Felix have any sort of joy in the afternoon. Resolute defensively, the 22-year-old also popped up on the opposite end to score the all-important third goal and put Barcelona in the driver’s seat.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
Solid throughout the game, the veteran defender did not put any foot wrong and ensured that Atletico did not find a way back into the contest after Barcelona were down to ten men. In the process, he also went level with Carles Puyol for number of appearances for the Blaugrana (593).
Jordi Alba: 8/10
After a string of disappointing performances, the Spaniard stepped it up on the big occasion on Sunday. Alba got forward with intent on the left side, providing width in attack as Gavi constantly drifted in from the wing. Equalised for the Blaugrana with a thumping volley and was a constant menace for the Atletico defence.
WHAT A GOAL BY JORDI ALBA!!! pic.twitter.com/T7vvB8WdHE
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 6, 2022
The youngster might not exactly have stood out on Sunday, but he was key to Barcelona playing the way they did. He combined well with Traore and Alves on the right and constantly got into pockets of space from where he could cause problems to the Atletico rearguard.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
An understated yet effective performance from the Barcelona captain. The veteran midfielder was his usual self in midfield, making ball recoveries and setting his team forward with his passes, even though there were a few sloppy moments here and there. He helped keep Atletico at bay after Alves’ sending off.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
A solid, all-round display from the Netherlands international, who was a key performer on the day. He pressed well and circulated the ball effectively to ensure that his team stayed on top, while his driving runs caused problems. De Jong helped soak up the pressure in the latter stages to see out the game.
Adama Traore: 8/10
21 – It took only 21 minutes for Adama Traoré to assist a goal on his return to Barcelona, after not providing an assist in any of his final 29 appearances in all competitions for Wolves (last doing so in April 2021 against Sheffield United). Product. pic.twitter.com/7Kpram53yo
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 6, 2022
Making his second debut for Barcelona, the former La Masia graduate was buzzing from the get-go, putting Mario Hermoso under all sorts of pressure with his direct running and ball control. Traore was involved in the first goal and then set up the second one with a fine run and cross for Gavi. He was taken off to a standing ovation from the packed Camp Nou.
Ferran Torres: 6/10
A quiet display from the Spaniard, who did not look as threatening or effective starting as a false-nine. He had a decent chance created by Pedri early on but failed to take it and then struck the woodwork from close range, with Araujo putting in the rebound to make it 3-1. Torres was guilty of playing Suarez offside for Atletico’s second goal.
Returning to the starting lineup after serving a suspension, the 17-year-old was a lively presence after slotting in on the left flank. Cut inside from the wide areas regularly, leaving space for Alba to run into while keeping the Atletico defence on their toes with his movement and ability to get into dangerous positions. One such run led to him heading in Adama’s cross to make it 2-1. Slightly subdued after the break and taken off.
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
He replaced Adama to make his Barcelona debut. It was a quiet outing for the former Arsenal striker, as Dani Alves’ sending off forced Barcelona to alter their plans.
Nico Gonzalez: 6/10
On for Gavi in the 66th minute. He helped Barcelona stay tight at the back after Alves’ red card.
Sergino Dest: 6/10
Sent on in place of Gavi for the final 20 minutes after Barcelona were reduced to ten men. He slotted in his usual right-back slot and helped his team see out the game.
Atletico Madrid Player Ratings
Jan Oblak: 4/10
Do you know who has got the 2nd worst save percentage in Europe's Top 5 Leagues at just under 48%?
Jan Oblak… his drop off this season has been monumental.
— Dougie Critchley (@DougieCritchley) February 6, 2022
The Slovenian international had a tough outing as he ended up shipping in four goals in the afternoon. While he was not aided by a leaky defence, Oblak does not inspire confidence in goal the same way he used to before and could have done better for one of Barcelona’s goals. He was also shaky when in possession.
Sime Vrsaljko: 4/10
He was taken off at half-time after struggling to deal with Gavi and the onrushing Alba on his side for most of the first period. He looked uncomfortable for most of his time, and his substitution was hardly a surprise.
Stefan Savic: 5/10
Walking back into the lineup, the centre-half had his moments on the day at Camp Nou when he made one or two key challenges but was largely unable to keep their hosts at bay. Savic had a decent chance at the other end in the first half but failed to take it.
Jose Maria Gimenez: 5.5/10
The Uruguayan tried hard but lacked the support from those around him, making his efforts to keep Barcelona way futile. However, he did get an assist when he set Suarez up for the second goal.
Mario Hermoso: 3/10
The Spaniard was bullied and tormented by Adama Traore on the afternoon, with the Barcelona winger proving to be too much for Hermoso to deal with. He could never catch up with the Barcelona winger’s speed and was constantly caught out.
Yannick Carrasco: 6.5/10
Carrasco moves inside freeing up room for Vrsaljko to run into the space. Suarez drifts over to create a numerical advantage and then a great ball from Koke pic.twitter.com/FjtFytC4oO
— Evan (@HaIf_Space) February 6, 2022
One of the very few positives on the day for Atletico Madrid as Carrasco was lively in the start and scored a good goal to get the ball rolling. The Belgian was not afraid of running at the Barcelona defenders and kept at it even though he had to keep changing his positions as Simeone kept tinkering with his tactics to find a way back into the game.
Rodrigo De Paul: 5.5/10
The Argentine offered a positive influence on the pitch for Atletico as he constantly tried to play progressive passes forward and even created a few chances for his teammates, which were not taken. However, he should have done a bit more to thwart his Barcelona counterparts.
The Atletico Madrid captain played a fantastic pass to start the move, which ended with Carrasco finding the back of the net. That was as good as it got for Koke, though, as he could never get a foothold into the game from thereon, with Barcelona controlling proceedings.
Thomas Lemar: 5/10
The Frenchman could not impact proceedings in the final third as he had a lot to do defensively, tracking Alves and trying to help Hermoso on his side. As a result, his involvement in attack was reduced. Lemar did, however, create a chance or two but was taken off early in the second half.
Luis Suarez: 6.5/10
?[MD] | Luis Suárez apologized to Barça fans yesterday after scoring. The Camp Nou public also applauded him when his name was pronounced over the loudspeaker during the announcement of line-ups. #fcblive pic.twitter.com/YC0XV6WOCN
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) February 7, 2022
Making his return in front of a full Camp Nou, the Uruguayan made two crucial contributions, first assisting Carrasco for the opener and then scoring in the second half to spark hopes of a comeback. However, he was largely subdued on the day apart from those two moments.
Joao Felix: 5.5/10
The Portuguese prodigy tried to make things happen and did pose some problems with his movement and clever footwork, but ultimately failed to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.
Daniel Wass: 4/10
On for Vrsajko at half-time to make his debut, but the Dane struggled at right-back before picking up a knee injury late on.
Matheus Cunha: 5/10
Replaced Hermoso and added more energy in attack. He tried to put the Barcelona defenders under pressure but did not pose a goal threat.
Reinildo Mandava: 5/10
He made his Atletico Madrid debut when he replaced Lemar in the 55th minute. Could not make much of an impact.
Angel Correa: 5/10
On for Felix in the 56th minute but failed to do much of note despite trying to make things happen in the final third.
Hector Herrera: N/A
Replaced Koke with fifteen minutes left. Booked.