Barcelona player ratings as Setién's men beaten in Valencia
Barcelona were well beaten by Valencia on Saturday, with few Blaugrana players emerging from the defeat at Mestalla with any credit.
Marc-André ter Stegen:
Brilliant. Ter Stegen avoided a heavier beating for Barcelona, saving a penalty from Maxi Gómez, preventing a Gerard Piqué own goal, pushing a powerful Gómez strike onto the woodwork... and continuing to demonstrate his shot-stopping abilities right up until the final whistle. The German could do little about the goals.
Roberto isn't comfortable in his new centre-back role under Quique Setién. Not only does he look all at sea as part of a defensive three, but Barça also lose his ability to drive down the right-hand flank. He was poor, but he is hardly being helped by his coach's tactics.
Piqué's worst performance of the season. He gave away a stonewall penalty, almost turned the ball into his own net after a poor header by Roberto and nearly presented Valencia with an attacking opening with one particularly bad clearance.
The Frenchman is a shadow of the player he once was. Slow, sluggish, error-prone and so, so unsure of himself. It's just one mistake after another. That Clément Lenglet isn't starting ahead of Umtiti speaks volumes for how bad the former Sevilla man's current form is, too.
A game to forget for Alba, particularly his role in Valencia's opener: Gómez's shot appeared to be flying wide when it deflected off him and into the net. The 30-year-old struggled to strike up an understanding with Ansu Fati when the forward was on his wing. He kept going, though, delivering the odd enticing cross and showing brief flashes of his connection with Lionel Messi.
The only player who seems to have taken to Setién's playbook right away. Linked up with his team-mates effectively, bringing the ball out well and offering good support. Always the right pass, always first-time. The problem was that his colleagues are all still deciphering the new code.
Frenkie de Jong:
A disaster in every way. In a recent interview with Sport, the Dutchman gave himself a six out of 10 for his season so far - but after this game he'd probably be minded to bring that mark down. Spiritless, idealess, insipid.
In his first start for two months, Arthur was leggy and stale. With ball at feet he was innocuous, scarcely playing any penetrative, attacking passes. He seems to be just going through the motions. Unimaginative and ineffective.
Cut a bitter, despairing figure by the end of the game - and that's bad news when you consider that this is a player who can leave for nothing this summer if he so wishes. He appears to be the only member of the team capable of shooting. He tried everything: shots, free-kicks, headers... but nothing came off.
Griezmann still looks lost. He doesn't seem clear on where he's supposed to be operating and is offering little in the way of attacking solutions. Barely involved in the final third, his displays are disappointing and frustrating. A cross and a pass to Messi are the sum total of his attacking output today.
He was anonymous in the first half, but his efforts in the second mean he is one of the few Barça players to come out of this disaster with any credit. He sometimes seemed overawed, but there could be no faulting his attitude. His best chance came in the first minute of the second 45, when he shot just wide after being found by a fine Messi pass.
Arturo Vidal (on for Arthur in the 56th minute):
Made a difference to Barcelona, at least in terms of fight and intensity. Sought to drive the team on and got involved in one-touch attacking moves. Stood up to be counted.
Ivan Rakitic (on for De Jong in the 85th minute):
Introduced for the final minutes; little of note can be said about his brief presence on the pitch.
Álex Collado (on for Fati in the 85th minute):
Came on with his team already beaten.
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