Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal were on target as Barcelona came from behind to beat Leganes 2-1 at Estadio Municipal de Butarque on Saturday
Ernesto Valverde had named an attacking lineup, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann all starting. But, it was Leganes who grabbed the lead, as Youssef En-Nesyri finished off a swift counter-attacking move in the 12th minute.
Thereafter, Barcelona struggled to break a solid Leganes defence as the hosts went into half-time with their slender lead intact. Post the break, the visitors looked more purposeful and pulled back to level terms when Luis Suarez nodded the ball in from Lionel Messi’s precise delivery.
The win was then rounded off in the 79th minute when Arturo Vidal scored from point-blank range, although the goal needed confirmation from VAR before the celebrations began. Barcelona held on for the final 10 minutes as they retained their place atop the La Liga table. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
A usually quiet outing for ter Stegen, who was rarely called into action and had more work to do with his feet than with his gloves. Distributed the ball well, although there was one instance when he nearly put his team under pressure. Could not have done anything to deny Youssef En-Nesyri.
Moussa Wague: 6/10
With Nelson Semedo injured and Sergi Roberto suspended, Wague finally got the chance to make his first appearance of the season. Under the pump early on against the relentless pressing of the Leganes attack, the Senegalese defender grew into the game as it wore on, especially at the back. Sent in a number of crosses, only to not have the right finishing touches on them. Still, decent all in all.
Gerard Pique: 4/10
Pique’s inconsistent season continued on Saturday, with the veteran defender struggling to impose himself on the Leganes attack. Beaten too easily be En-Nesyri in the build-up to his goal and was often backpedaling against the face of Leganes’s counter. Much more assured in the second half, aided by the fact that Barcelona controlled the game post the interval.
Samuel Umtiti: 5/10
Another player who should have done better when Leganes grabbed the early lead. But, other than that moment, Umtiti was largely untroubled and held the fort at the back. A step in the right direction for the Frenchman as he continues to find his feet after returning from his latest injury.
Junior Firpo: 5/10
Afforded a rare start in the absence of the injured Jordi Alba, Firpo was hesitant in the early exchanges and was caught out of position as En-Nesyri scored the opener. Gradually improved, but could not provide as creative an outlet as Wague on the opposite flank.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
As is usually the case, de Jong was one of the better players on the pitch for Barcelona. But, he, too, was not quite at his best on the day, even though he was the most creative player for the visitors. Was always alert to pounce on to loose balls and did well to provide cover behind Wague when the young defender ventured forward.
Sergio Busquets: 5/10
In a season that has been marred with a number of sub-par performances, Busquets underwhelmed again. Overrun far too easily at times, he was also culpable for the Leganes goal. Sloppy on the ball at times, the veteran midfielder also picked up a booking, which rules him out of the crucial league game against Atletico Madrid due to suspension.
Antoine Griezmann: 4/10
Another game wherein Griezmann’s struggles continued. There were times when the Frenchman was not even visible on the pitch, almost as if the game passed him by. Ineffective from both flanks, something has to give for Griezmann now, as he continues to blow hot and cold.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
Like his teammates, Messi was well below his best at Leganes. But, even in a game wherein he was struggling to consistently trouble the opposition defenders, the Barcelona captain ended up leaving his mark on the proceedings, providing the assist for Suarez’s goal with a superb delivery.
Ousmane Dembele: 5/10
Like Griezmann on the opposite flank, Dembele failed to stamp his authority. Constantly looked to make things happen, but was also wasteful with the ball at his feet. Perhaps, the biggest threat for the visitors, although without sustained pressure, the threat does not amount to much.
Luis Suarez: 7/10
Spurned by a wondrous save by Ivan Cuellar in the first half, Suarez finally had his goal early in the second half when he caressed his header past the Leganes goalkeeper. Otherwise, Suarez did not threaten a great deal, although he did work typically hard off the ball.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
With Busquets faltering, Rakitic was introduced to assert some control in midfield. And, the Croat did just that, as the visitors kept Leganes at bay for much of the final hour or so. Crucially did not touch the ball when Vidal netted the winner.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
4 – Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal has scored four goals in nine LaLiga appearances this season, one more than in 33 LaLiga games played the last season. Reaction. pic.twitter.com/d5wnRgFvlT
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 23, 2019
Yet again, Vidal was a game changer off the bench. Kept things ticking for much of his outing and was in the right place at the right time to score the winner. With four goals in just 9 appearances this season, Vidal is making some very important contributions.
Ansu Fati: 6/10
On for de Jong, Fati was a bundle of energy but did not make much of an impact.