Poor decision making cost Barcelona the game as Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid came out as 1-0 victors at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid got ready to host Barcelona in the hope of getting their first victory against the Blaugrana in La Liga since Diego Simeone became manager and to keep their undefeated streak in the league alive. The game started slowly, with both teams caught between intense pressing.
Despite having some incredibly talented passers on the pitch, there was no way for them to pave through. After hitting the post early on in the game, Atletico got the opportunity to release Yannick Carrasco from the left. Marc-Andre ter Stegen decided to rush up to tackle the Belgian early and win the ball, but ended up making a joke of himself, as Carrasco nutmegged him and slammed the ball into an open goal.
Full time pic.twitter.com/CDobSAknlV
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 21, 2020
After that, it was a series of half chances by Barcelona, who never got around to breaking Atletico’s deep block. Eventually, the whistle blew for full time after 95 minutes of football and Simeone got his long-overdue win over Barcelona in the La Liga. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Jan Oblak: 7/10
Despite creating two decent opportunities through headers, Clement Lenglet did not necessarily trouble Oblak, hitting both of them right at him. The Slovenian denied Antoine Griezmann a goal against his former club as he rose to head a Lionel Messi cross, but alas.
Kieran Trippier: 8/10
Trippier swallowed 17-year-old Pedri on his flank, not giving the youngster a single opportunity to break through from the wing. He also completed 1 key pass and was solid throughout the game.
Stefan Savic: 6.5/10
There was little penetrating Atletico’s defence on Saturday, but all of them seemed to pass through Savic’s side through the half-spaces on the left. Capable of doing much better.
Jose Gimenez: 9/10
An absolute rock in the heart of the Atletico Madrid defence, Gimenez did not allow any space to Messi and Griezmann, who were constantly shuffling to pave the way for a shot.
Mario Hermoso: 9/10
Naturally, playing on Ousmane Dembele’s wing was never going to be easy. And after a couple of hiccups early on in the game, Hermoso did not allow the World Cup winner any space, reading his movements to perfection, making 3 successful tackles, 2 clearances and 1 interception.
Marcos Llorente: 6/10
An off day at work for Llorente, who was shut down on the left flank by Pedri and Jordi Alba’s intense pressing. Given no space to operate, Llorente’s only contribution in the game was a shot that hit the crossbar very early on in the game.
Inarguably the most creative presence on the pitch for Atletico, who, for all their brilliance, were taken aback by the speed of the press Barcelona had deployed, especially early on in the game. Koke made 2 key passes, completed 3 of his 4 long balls and worked hard throughout the 90 minutes.
Saul Niguez: 6/10
Saul looked far from the player football fans have seen him become. He was mostly invisible throughout the game, only dropping back to defend on a handful of occasions.
Yannick Carrasco: 7/10
Yannick Carrasco is proving to be quite the handful for Barcelona, be it at their own backyard or in Atletico’s. Saturday was another occasion he lived up to this billing, constantly finding pockets of space between Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique and running those channels. Eventually scored the winner, making ter Stegen regret his decision.
Yannick Carrasco (2) has now scored more open-play goals in LaLiga this season than Lionel Messi (1).
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 21, 2020
Angel Correa: 8.5/10
Correa was not the lethal presence in the box that Luis Suarez is, but he allowed the team to play off his brilliance on the ball. He completed 3 key passes and created 2 big chances for his teammates eventually getting the assist for the winner.
Joao Felix: 7.5/10
While Barcelona were able to stop the inform Portuguese from scoring, they were unable to put a halt on his top-notch ability to dictate play. His movement off the ball often opened up the space for Carrasco and Llorente, and when on the ball, Felix was always in the hunt to create, attempting some audacious through balls and lobbed passes.
Diego Costa: 4/10
Came on with 20 minutes on the clock, in an attempt to hold up the ball near the box, but constantly ran into Frenkie de Jong, who did not allow him to be successful.
Thomas Lemar: N/A
A late introduction, Lemar helped see out the game.
Geoffrey Kondogbia: N/A
A late introduction, Kondogbia helped in running out the clock.
A late introduction to help see out the game.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 1/10
Like his shirt number, ter Stegen deserves no more than a one for his performance against Atletico Madrid. The only chance he had to do something fruitful turned out to be the moment the game was snatched away from Barcelona.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has now made five errors leading to goals since April 2019, more than any other player in LaLiga in that timeframe.
What was he thinking?! pic.twitter.com/PIrUo1SNLT
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 21, 2020
Sergi Roberto: 6/10
Roberto was unable to deal with the threat posed by Yannick Carrasco and Joao Felix on his side, and was often not seen where he should have been.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
A night to forget for Pique, who was partly responsible for the goal conceded, giving away the ball to the Atletico midfield even though they very clearly had Dembele injured at that point. A rush of blood to his head cost his team the game, and he was later subbed off after suffering a horrible knee injury.
Clement Lenglet: 8/10
Clement Lenglet, who has looked like a shadow of his former self this season, was arguably the best defender on the pitch for Barcelona, holding the fort while Pique ventured up, and covering for the full-backs who were often out of place.
Jordi Alba: 8/10
Even though Alba did not do enough defensively, Barcelona fans saw a different version of him on Saturday as he conducted play in the final third. He often stitched sublime through balls, allowing the likes of Pedri and Messi through on goal, only for them to come back disappointed.
Miralem Pjanic: 6/10
Pjanic was thoroughly closed down by Koke and Felix whenever he got the ball, not giving him any breathing room to spray the brilliant long passes he usually makes.
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
After an average first half, Frenkie de Jong was moved into the defence for thirty minutes of the game when Pique was injured. He was sublime in that role, making inch-perfect tackles and recovering the ball in the final third.
Ousmane Dembele: 7.5/10
Dembele was given the task to run at the Atletico defence and try to catch them off guard somehow. While mostly successful in the first half, he only ran into traffic in the second and was heavily closed down by Carrasco and Hermoso who double-teamed him.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
Every time Barcelona face Atletico Madrid, the world sees a different version of Lionel Messi – one who cannot operate through the centre due to the unavailability of space and attempts multiple crosses.
Such was the case on Saturday as well, as the Argentine often attempted crosses into the box, which were met by the attackers, but to no avail. Not to mention, he missed an easy opportunity to get the score level pegging in the first half.
📸 — It's quite obvious and hurting to see that Messi is mentally tired at Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/3Vwmyap9CP
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 21, 2020
Nearly invisible throughout his time on the pitch, Pedri clearly needs to rest, and should not be playing week in week out at 17.
Antoine Griezmann: 6/10
Griezmann was not given space to operate, and despite his best efforts to create, Barcelona lacked a runner in the final third who could make a substantial difference.
Philippe Coutinho: 5/10
Much like the player he replaced (Pedri), Coutinho was barely seen on the pitch. Rustiness from the injury, perhaps?
Sergino Dest: 6/10
Still trying to gel in with the rest of the team, Dest did not quite understand the movements his teammates would serve, but despite that, he made some solid runs near the edge of the box to open up space.
Fransisco Trincao: N/A
Brought on late in a desperate attempt to change the scoreline; did not work.
Martin Braithwaite: N/A
Much like Trincao’s his substitution did not pay dividends.