UEFA Champions League: Ranking the Barcelona Players vs Shakhtar Donetsk
It appears as we would have to prepare for Clasico April.
Not only did Real Madrid all but secure a clear passage to the next round of the UEFA Champions League, FC Barcelona has also comprehensively beaten Shakhtar Donetsk in one of the most unconvincing manita's in recent memory.
The Quadruple Clasico Nightmare is becoming reality.
Yesterday's business is still today's headline material, at least when it comes to the UEFA Champions League.
As I have pointed out earlier, last night's victory must have been one of the more shaky performances I've seen in a while. I'm still puzzled by the final score because on any other night, FC Barcelona would've trailed by at least two goals.
Fortunately for the Blaugrana, Shakhtar's forwards don't like freebies that much.
Let's see how the lucky ones have performed. The list/ranking is, as always, in ascending order.
El Guaje had a game to forget. It’s that simple.
Horrendous first half performance by the normally reliable Busquets, but then again, he is usually screening the back four, not a part of it.
What’s the movies name again? Oh yeah, How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Ever since Shakira waka waka’d him, Piquenbauer seems to be more confident in front of goal; the opponent’s not Barca’s. Sure, he is all ears for Shakira, but on the pitch he needs to be yelled at by Carles Puyol again.
The often underappreciated goalie had, with the exception of the first half, a fairly quiet evening. In all fairness, it must be said that Shakhar’s forwards were quite wasteful in front of goal.
Not bad. Not outstanding. A solid performance by the former Sevilla utility man.
If there is a silver lining in FC Barcelona’s current injury crisis, it’s the game-time awarded to Argentina’s captain.
With each outing he understands the “Barca philosophy” better. He is still not able to pass as fast as Busquets does, but the latter has got a 10+ year head start.
His game can be best described as hit-or-miss. Powerful and energetic going forward, but had his fair share of lapses during the 90 minutes at Camp Nou.
Nonetheless, the Brazilian did score a fine goal with his run into the box, a joy to behold.
I’ve criticized him before and the Malian made me eat my words.
He kept it tidy and neat, provided physical presence in the middle of the park and rounded off his impressive performance with a well-taken goal.
First things first. Lionel Messi is currently suffering from a goal drought. He has gone five games without a goal.
That is usually an acceptable “drought”, but Lionel Messi is measured against….Lionel Messi.
Under Guardiola’s tenure so far, La Pulga has never failed to score for more than three games. But it must be said, his contributions are not solely goals.
Messi literally ran his socks off. Dragging markers out of position, stifling the defense—he did everything but score a goal.
The football version of a Swiss chronometer, the Patek Phillipe of footballers, he keeps the Blaugrana machine ticking like well-oiled clockwork.
They don’t make them like this anymore. Apparently the game needs brainless all-action runners. What do Xavi & Paul Scholes have in common? They retain their class even beyond the age of 30.
Fatherhood hasn’t changed San Andres; if anything, it has lifted his spirits even more. At the moment he is far and away FC Barcelona’s best player.
If he wasn’t playing alongside a certain Argentine, the football world would appreciate Iniesta even more. His goal once again reminded everyone that Lionel Messi isn’t the only player who gets better in close spaces.
His assist for Dani Alves displayed both vision and technique that only a few can call their own.