Another matchday at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, another FC Barcelona win. This time, they were up against Sevilla. It was contentious before the game even started, with Sevilla’s board refusing to attend the match due to the reports surrounding the Negreira case (give me a break!).
Sevilla proved to be a capable opponent, defending well and creating some danger of their own. In the end, it would be Sergio Ramos who would score an own goal to gift the blaugrana a 1-0 win. How poetic.
Barça played well in this one, despite the score line. They didn’t look nearly as delicate defensively, not being caught out of position on the break as they were in recent matches. Sevilla did have some chances, but it was honestly more due to Sevilla’s good play than Barça’s mistakes. in the end, it would be the youngsters, Fermín López and Lamine Yamal, that would elevate the team and lead them to a win.
Marc-André ter Stegen – 7/10
Was good in this one. Made the saves he needed to make, although nothing spectacular. His passing out from the back was good, and he nearly found Raphinha over the top on a few occasions.
Balde – 7/10
May be an unpopular opinion, but I believe Balde has room to improve. While it’s probably unrealistic to expect Jordi Alba numbers of assists/goals, I still think he can do better when it comes to the final pass and his decision making on the ball in general. That said, he’s miles better than Alba was defensively. He’s a strong defender and strong player overall.
Christensen – 7.5/10
Extremely solid tonight. Christensen-Koundé may be sneakily becoming the best center back pairing Barça have right now, even with Araújo fit. Christensen brings a certain calmness to the back line, and his passing out from the back is good. He’s very patient on the ball, which was needed in this one. I have to admit that even I at times have understated his performances, as he’s not showy or flashy whatsoever. But he’s been great for Barça ever since he arrived.
Koundé – 7.5/10
Along with Christensen, very calm and concise. Patient on the ball, well reactive off it. When Sevilla were pressing forward, they were able to keep a level head and won header after header. Koundé also made a great clearance late on to save what would’ve been a clear goal. A top 3 performer for Barça this season, easily.
Cancelo – 7/10
Complete class with the ball at his feet, as we’ve come to expect from him. He snaked through the defense near the half-hour mark and gave Félix a beautiful pass that he really should’ve finished. Defensively though, much better than in recent matches. The whole defensive shape helped him a bit, but his work rate off the ball was good. He didn’t have it easy, either, as Sevilla attacked quite a bit down his side, but he did reasonably well.
Gündoğan – 8/10
In possession, he played as a single pivot, while defensively Gavi slid down to help him out. A bit isolated at times, but the team was very patient overall and didn’t try to force it into him. When he did get the ball, though, he was superb. Calm, technically perfect, and just very smart at all times. He was good defensively as well. Despite Romeu not being there, the midfield looked much less susceptible to quick breaks from Sevilla. Perhaps this was due to the control Gündoğan and Gavi afforded the midfield.
Gavi – 8/10
Gavi is absolutely monumental for this team. His energy, as always, unmatched. He had a miraculous save with his chest, almost on the goal line, on what looked to be a sure Sevilla goal. He picked Ocampos’ pocket more than once. However, what we’re seeing this season is truly a blossoming. He’s putting together consistent performances of not just excellent work rate and defense, but also quality. His passing is excellent, his link-up play excellent, his calmness on the ball excellent. We’re truly seeing another level from him this season.
Raphinha – 7/10
Raphinha in that interior 8 position is a very aggressive player, which is good. He looks quite good in that role, making runs in behind and sometimes dropping deeper to receive balls in the middle of the field. He got in behind a couple of times, almost drawing a penalty and forcing the Sevilla defense to think twice. That right side with Yamal, Cancelo and Raphinha is a very good one. Unfortunately, he was forced off with an injury in the first half. It appeared to be a hamstring, so it’ll probably be a few weeks. Barça’s injury woes continue.
Fermín – 9/10
Came on in the 37th minute for Raphinha. He missed a chance early on that he really should’ve scored. After that, he was nothing short of amazing. His feel for the game, ability to play quick passes, and his intelligence was really on display in this one. His passing was crisp, and his dribbling in tight spaces was great. He was involved in several scoring chances. He recovered a few balls as well. His confidence seems to be very high right now, and Barça are incredibly lucky to have found another young gem.
Romeu – 6.5/10
Came on in the 82nd minute for Yamal. Didn’t have much time in this one, and wasn’t very involved, but he did do his usual defensive work. What we’ve come to expect from him, essentially. Although it must be said that Barça did look a bit better without him on the pitch when Sevilla went on the break.
Félix – 6.5/10
Had the first 2 good chances for Barça, and he really should’ve scored the second one, but he hit the crossbar. Félix is a very good player, that much is clear to see. Sevilla was very physical with him, and he drew quite a few fouls. However, try as he might, things didn’t go off for him in this one.
Lamine Yamal – 8/10
I freely admit that I grade Yamal on a curve, considering the fact that he is only 16 (!!). It’s insane that he’s even in this position, let alone starting a match against Sevilla. The first part of the first half, he was somewhat isolated, not receiving many balls and not doing much with the passes he did receive. As the first half went on, however, he grew into the game and started playing quite well. Lamine took on defenders well and gave Fermín a great cross in that he really should’ve finished. He created the only goal in this one, heading in another pass to Fermín that bounced off Ramos and in. The sky’s seriously the limit for this kid.
Lewandowski – 7/10
Could’ve scored in this one, but couldn’t quite get one in. He had a couple of good chances which were dealt with very well by the Sevilla defense. He’s rediscovering his form, not being asked to do as much on the pitch. He’s more of a box presence now, which is good. He’ll get back on goal-scoring track soon enough.
Ferran – 7/10
Came on in the 71st minute for Félix. Tried a few things that didn’t work out, but he was good overall. Playing from the left, he had one shot that went wide (but was later ruled offside). His pass to Yamal for the game winner was exquisite, though, so points for that. He timed it perfectly, and it was perfectly weighted as well.
3 more points for Barça, as they look now to Porto and the Champions League. What did you think of the performance? Let us know in the comments below.