Barcelona’s attacking trio were on song as they demolished Deportivo Alaves 4-1, ending the year on a high and on top of the La Liga table.
Barcelona ended the year on a high as they defeated Deportivo Alaves 4-1 at Camp Nou to maintain a healthy goal difference against their arch-rivals Real Madrid in the La Liga title race. It was an overall solid performance from the Catalans unlike El Clasico, as Ernesto Valverde’s men showed character and cutting edge in attack.
They created chances and also took them with conviction. Antoine Griezmann, Arturo Vidal, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were on target while Pere Pons scored the consolation goal for Alaves. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Valverde’s charges.
1️⃣ ALAVÉS (Pere Pons) pic.twitter.com/FLnNGgnjbK
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 21, 2019
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10
The German was not that busy and it was expected as Barcelona dictated terms and had the lions share of the possession. However, the only shot Alaves managed to aim on target was a consolation goal for Pere Pons. Although he did not make a save, he was called into action in several pressure situations, with Sergio Roberto putting him under the radar with a wobbly backpass.
Sergio Roberto: 6/10
An engine and known for his stamina and the shift he puts in for the team makes him a special player. But, he could not make a lot of impact going forward and also lacked a little bit of composure and conviction with his passing and decision making.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
The experienced defender had a quiet game by his lofty standards. He did things alright, kept the Alaves forwards at bay. The only time he was under pressure was from that Roberto backpass which created a ruckus with ter Stegen, but otherwise, he had a steady performance.
Samuel Umtiti: 7/10
It was not surprising to see the Frenchman replacing his compatriot in defence and deliver a great performance. A good solid performance in Barcelona colours will keep him in good stead, as he will have busier nights than this against Alaves.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
The Spaniard is like wine, as he gets better and faster with age. Alba was once again a livewire on the pitch, with his numerous overlapping runs and explosive pace keeping the Alaves defenders on their toes. Although the final delivery wasn’t in place every time, it was another excellent performance by Alba.
Carles Alena: 6.5/10
The Barcelona youth academy graduate again seemed to make his case to Ernesto Valverde, who did not have him in his plans some time back. Alena looked to get on the ball and was also busy as he ventured forward and created space in behind the Alaves defence. But, his tendency to hold the ball for too long made Barcelona lose possession in the final third at times.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
It was shocking to see Busquets start this match and in his gameplay, it was evident that he was still not fully fit. There were clear signs and he was imperfect with his passing, which is very uncharacteristic of him. But, it was good for him and Barcelona as he played for sizeable time before being substituted by Frenkie de Jong.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
The Chilean midfielder was rewarded for his excellent Clasico performance. Vidal he continued from where he left off earlier this week and was the driving force in midfield for the Blaugrana. Capped off another solid display with a fantastic goal.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
Another masterclass from the Argentine, as he combined well with Griezmann and almost created a Goal of the Season contender. He scored one and came close to scoring more. The goal he scored was a typical Messi goal as he struck it low and powerful, which left Fernando Pachecho flat-footed in goal. Ends 2019 with 50 goals for club and country.
Luis Suarez: 8/10
Great turnaround for the Uruguayan as he popped up with two assists and also a goal, albeit it was from the spot. He had a telepathic combination, with Messi and Antoine Greizmann. He won the penalty after striking a defender’s arm and made no mistake in converting from the spot.
Antoine Griezmann: 9/10
The Frenchman finally looks settled in Blaugrana colours. He combined really well with his fellow forwards and scored the early goal which allowed Barcelona to dominate the proceedings. Griezmann is slowly developing this knack of scoring goals regularly and his understanding with Messi and Suarez is getting better, which is a great thing for the whole side.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
Came in for Sergio Busquets who looked out of sorts. While the Dutchman added more surety in the middle of the park, he did not do anything special as Barcelona were already leading and dominating the proceedings.
Carles Perez: N/A
The youngster came in for Luis Suarez to allow the Uruguayan talisman a little breather. Perez hardly had any impact in the game after coming on for the last five minutes of the game.
Nelson Semedo: N/A
Same like Perez, Semedo also came in for Sergio Roberto and hardly had any time to leave a meaningful mark on the game.