Barcelona player ratings as De Jong goal defeats Huesca
Frenkie de Jong's first-half strike gave Barcelona a 1-0 win over Huesca in LaLiga on Sunday night, as Lionel Messi made his 750th appearance for the club.
Marc-André ter Stegen:
Ter Stegen had two stand-out moments in which he avoided disaster. The first came after a backpass by Sergio Busquets that did him no favours at all, forcing the German to clear with his head; the second after a backheel by Huesca’s Rafa Mir that drew a fine stop from the keeper on the goal line. As ever, he was excellent with ball at feet.
Dest didn’t have a bad game, but his team-mates didn’t help him to shine, as they gave him little to work with on the right flank. With pretty much no-one to link up with, the American struggled to provide penetration or end product, although Pedri and Lionel Messi would at times drift out to the right to offer him support. Dest was inexplicably substituted for Óscar Mingueza in the second half.
Didn’t put a foot wrong defensively, offering up a forceful, intense display. He has to improve his abilities on the ball, because all too often he looks very unsure of himself when bringing it out from the back.
The Frenchman did everything that was asked of him on a night when he was rarely tested. Very neat and tidy and assured when carrying the ball out from defence, he committed very few errors in that department.
Alba is in a rich vein of form. He was one of Barcelona’s most-used attacking outlets, providing penetration down the left and linking up to good effect with Ousmane Dembélé and Pedri. There were also several glimpses of his understanding with Messi, although it did not lead to any goals on this occasion.
Busquets won 50-50 balls for his team time and time again, as well as serving up passes that created openings his team-mates were unable to take advantage of. In particular, one fantastic ball into the box was no more than inches away from setting Messi up to score.
Frenkie de Jong:
Scored the only goal of the game from Messi’s wonderful pass, getting just enough on the ball to direct it into the net. De Jong is in fine fettle, particularly when it comes to bursting past his opponents and changing up the tempo of the attack. He was also excellent defensively, winning back a number of balls.
Made his mark on his first visit to El Alcoraz, producing fine trickery in tight spaces, intelligent passes through a crowd of players, free-kicks that went close and powerful shots that somehow failed to end up in the net. His commitment and leadership are beyond doubt. 750 Barça appearances for a footballing genius.
Terrific performance. The Canary Islander delivered a virtuoso display of flicks, backheels and first-touch passes, with his connection with Messi there for all to see. All that was missing was a goal; he had two fine chances, but was unable to take them.
Playing like this, Dembélé is undroppable. Quick, powerful and ambitious, this is the player the fans want to see out there on the pitch. Now all we can do is cross our fingers and hope injury doesn’t strike.
There can be no doubting his commitment and effort. He fights tooth and nail for every ball and gives his all when pressing the opposition. He had a good chance to score after a fine turn away from his marker, but ended up shooting slightly on the stretch. A striker who may not be the prettiest, but he contributes a lot to the team tactically.
Had a tough time on the right flank. It’s true that he has played at full-back for Barça B, but he looked uncomfortable and lacking in the tools for the position.
The Bosnian came on for Busquets and did his job.
Got 10 minutes on the field, a short run-out in which he didn’t do anything of note.
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