Barcelona player ratings vs Ferencváros: Dembélé, Griezmann...
Ousmane Dembélé was excellent in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win over Ferencváros, as were the likes of Martin Braithwaite, Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann.
An easy night for the goalkeeper, who didn’t have a single shot on target to deal with in the first half. Ferencváros were a little more incisive in attack after the break, forcing the Brazilian into action on occasion with the odd effort on goal, but the threat posed by the Hungarians still didn’t amount to a whole lot.
Dest is increasingly reminiscent of Dani Alves. Terrific going forward, every time he got onto the ball in attacking areas he sowed panic in the Ferencváros rearguard. Both Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann came close to taking advantage of his measured crosses. Meanwhile, his pace also allowed him to snuff out some of Ferencváros' timid attacks.
His third straight first-team start, and Barcelona’s third straight clean sheet. Such figures mean it’s hard to find much wrong with the way the youth product is playing; he’s doing his job and then some. His emergence is without doubt one of the major surprises of the season. He’s helping to turn the Barça defence into an impenetrable bunker.
Lenglet’s inclusion in the line-up was a slight surprise given he had hobbled off against Osasuna with an ankle sprain, and indeed Koeman opted to bring him off on the hour mark, with the game won. The Frenchman wore the captain’s armband while he was on the field in the second half. A focused, dependable display, just as we’re used to.
Excellent in every department. Alba set up the first goal, scored wonderfully by Griezmann, and combined marvellously with Ousmane Dembélé, the duo tearing up the left flank together. Koeman brought him off in the second half to give him a breather, replacing him with Junior Firpo.
Pjanic tried everything he could to open his goalscoring account for Barça. With his first opportunity, he sent the ball high over the bar, before firing his second chance closer to goal and then skimming the post with his third. His first goal ought to arrive sooner rather than later.
Played the first 45 minutes without having to break much of a sweat because of the accommodating nature of the home side in midfield. Koeman chose to rest him after the break with one eye on a packed fixture schedule. Was shown a deserved yellow card for a late challenge.
Only needed a goal to top off an excellent performance. Cutting in from the right, he grew into the game, linking up well with Dest and taking on his man effectively. He just needs to show a little more ambition in his game and believe in himself a little more.
Looking better with every passing day. He can be seen with a smile on his face, digging in when he doesn’t have the ball and making the difference when he does. Having scored a fantastic volley against Osasuna at the weekend, he followed up that strike with a sumptuous backheeled finish from Alba’s fine cross. He’s in form and both he and Koeman need to capitalise on this momentum.
He looks like a different person. Previously an unfocused, apathetic, fragile forward, he is now transformed: he’s playing forcefully, skilfully and with generosity towards his team-mates. If, as he did against Ferencváros, he can bring those qualities to bear on games in the shape of assists and goals - even if tonight's was from the penalty spot - then we just might be able to say that the young Frenchman is finally on track.
The Dane now has four goals in the last three games. If he keeps performing like this, it’ll be hard for Koeman to drop him. He again put in a fine display, particularly in the first half, scoring a goal from Dembélé’s lovely assist and winning the penalty converted by the winger. With Braithwaite playing this well, the club need to ask themselves whether the arrival of Memphis Depay should be a priority in January, or whether they should concentrate on strengthening other areas of the pitch.
Played the whole of the second half, having been brought on for Alba at the break. Did what was needed of him.
Frenkie de Jong:
Also introduced at half time, De Jong began in central midfield alongside Pjanic, before dropping into defence to partner Mingueza when Lenglet was substituted.
Was given 26 minutes by Koeman - more than enough time to show the enormous quality he boasts. Came close to scoring after combining excellently with Dembélé on the counter-attack.
Came into the midfield alongside Pjanic. Didn’t pull up any trees, but he was dependable.
Konrad de la Fuente:
Brought on in place of Braithwaite for the final few minutes.