Barcelona player ratings: Pedri shows Spain call-up class
The Canary Islands youngster got Leo Messi smiling again, the Barcelona captain having his best game of the season with a hand in all three goals.
Ronald Koeman changed his formation at the José Zorrilla, fielding three central defenders and deploying wing backs in the 3-0 victory over Valladolid. Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho were consigned to the bench as Leo Messi and Pedri shone in what was arguably Barcelona’s best performance under Ronald Koeman.
Here’s how Barça’s players fared in the Jose Zorrilla.
Ter Stegen. A solid performance from the German stopper who made a fine one-handed save to deny Orellana. He is a guarantee for Barça under the posts but still has a fre issues when he move out of his comfort zone in the six-yard box.
Mingueza. Didn’t put a foot wrong. A three-central defender system also stands out when all its components are protected. The youngster was a picture of concentration and held up his end of the bargain.
Araújo. At the same level as Mingueza, played his role and was rarely under any pressure. Wasn’t required to bring the ball out, a task that fell to Pjanic in Koeman’s new system.
Lenglet. On the score sheet and has improved considerably in terms of reading aerial balls in defence and attack. A fine header to open the scoring and a comfortable evening at the other end.
Dest. In his element as a wing back and has the motor to keep running up and down the flank. Staged several dangerous incursions from his side of the pitch and his ebergy levels are a boon for Barcelona.
Pjanic. Another start and a fine game from the midfielder, who gives Barça much more rhythm than Busquets. He comes with a risk factor as he loses more balls than the Spain midfielder but he is dynamic and seems to have built up a good understanding with De Jong.
🔝 Performance from @Miralem_Pjanic! 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 23, 2020
106 completed passes*
110 attempted passes*
96.4% passing pct
3 fouls drawn*
*led all players in #ValladolidBarça pic.twitter.com/UaqBEGclQd
De Jong. The Dutchman is in a rich vein of form. His function has been distilled to simply mark Barça’s tempo and add some verve in midfield and he has been taking more responsibility on his shoulders. When he puts his foot on the pedal, the rest of the team follows suit.
Alba. At the moment, like Dest, he is better deployed as a wing back rather than a full back because where he finds himself a bit lacking is in tracking back.
Pedri. A man of the match performance and one that Luis Enrique may watch again. Pedri has settled into Barça’s starting XI with incredible assurance and he is wonderful to watch on the ball. His backheel for Messi’s goal was a joy to behold but his tactical awareness is equally impressive. He is always where his teammates want him to be.
Messi. The Argentinean’s best game of the season. A goal, an assist and a hand in all three strikes, he could have added more to his own tally but for the skill of Masip. The link-up play between him and Pedri is something for Barça fans to get very excited about
Braithwaite. Did well to read the play to score Barça’s second and almost pulled off a cheeky backheeled goal that shows he is growing in confidence. His connection with Dest is bearing fruit and his work rate and ability to pull defenders around to provide space for his teammates plays a vital role.
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