Pedri put in a man of the match performance as Barcelona registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Real Valladolid on Tuesday.
Barcelona maintained the pressure on Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga table after securing a convincing 3-0 win over Real Valladolid on Tuesday.
Following a draw with Valencia on the weekend, the Blaugrana were determined to get back to winning ways and it was evident in their first half performance. They sustained the pressure on Valladolid, who had to defend in deep blocks and create a lot of chances in the final third, before eventually finding an opener in the 21st minute through Clement Lenglet.
Martin Brathwaite then doubled Barcelona’s lead in the 35th minute through a well-timed tap in, giving Valladolid some real headache going into the second half.
The hosts predictably pushed forward a bit more after the restart, but Barcelona’s dominance in the game did not fade away. They still looked a dangerous side going forward. Ronald Koeman’s men deservedly scored the third goal as well – this time through Lionel Messi, who broke Pele’s record of scoring 643 goals for a single club.
The goal was enough to seal all three points for the visitors and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at the Barcelona stars following their dominant performance over Valladolid this midweek.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was not asked to make any exceptional saves on the night, though the Barcelona goalkeeper did an excellent job of making a one-handed stop to deny Fabian Orellana late in the game. He looked solid as ever, successfully managing to retain his deserved clean sheet.
Oscar Mingueza: 7.5/10
Oscar Mingueza was given the nod at the heart of the Barcelona defence by Koeman, who opted for a three-man backline. The move paid off as the youngster showed remarkable discipline, keeping things neat and tidy throughout the course of the game. He is proving to become a trustworthy option for Barcelona in central defence.
Ronald Araujo: 7.5/10
It was yet another impressive performance from Ronald Araujo, though, in fairness, the young centre-back was not asked to do too much. The presence of an additional defender made it easier for him to circulate the ball, particularly in build-up play, with the midfielders taking better charge of the game.
Clement Lenglet: 7.5/10
Following a difficult run of performances, Lenglet really needed this game against Real Valladolid. It was an opportunity for the Frenchman to once again stamp his authority in the defensive unit for Barcelona and that he did by winning a number of aerial duels while also keeping out the Valladolid attackers. He scored the early goal as well, giving his side the ideal platform to dominate the game.
MESSI ASSISTS LENGLET WITH AN INSANE PASS 🤯 pic.twitter.com/fpTvi0RBuM
— SR (@TotalMaestro) December 22, 2020
Sergino Dest: 8/10
Sergino Dest was once again a useful outlet for Barcelona on the right flank. He made a host of incisive runs forward throughout the course of the game, providing some delicate crosses, one of which led to Brathwaite’s goal in the 35th minute. The American international can really become an asset for the club if he can continue working on his overall solidity on the ball and provide more assurance in possession.
Miralem Pjanic: 8/10
Miralem Pjanic was a vital cog in Koeman’s changed formation that asked him to anchor the midfield and instigate the build-up play. The Bosnian international did not disappoint either, producing a tremendous effort in the middle of the park. He covered a lot of ground as well, barely putting a foot wrong in terms of covering the middle third of the pitch.
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
Frenkie de Jong marked his return to the starting lineup with another impressive performance. His ability to work in tight spaces and play exquisite one-touch football helped Barcelona launch quick counter-attacks. The young midfielder also had a key role to play in the build-up to the third goal, which was by far the most beautiful one in the game.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
Jordi Alba looked clumsy at times, fumbling the ball in the final third on more than one occasion. He certainly was not as effective as Dest on the opposite flank. The veteran left-back will also be disappointed to pick up a yellow card that rules him out for the next match.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Chasing a record 644th goal for Barcelona in all competitions, Lionel Messi was inevitable for Real Valladolid. The in-form Barcelona superstar was quite a menace for the defenders with his silky movements, intelligent positional understanding and exquisite passes that saw him emerge as the creator-in-chief for the visiting side.
To beat Messi’s 644 goal record, someone will have to score an average of 43 goals a season for 15 years….for one club. 🤯
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 22, 2020
The Argentine also looked keen on finding the back of the net and was rather unfortunate as most of his efforts on goal were saved by his former teammate and Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip. That was until the 65th minute, when Messi finally found the back of the net with a calm finish – breaking Pele’s record of scoring 643 goals for a single club. Truly one of a kind.
Although Messi stole all the limelight with his goal in the second half, it was Pedri who was the force behind this excellent performance from Barcelona on Tuesday. Operating in the attacking midfield role, the youngster was in inspiring form as he created numerous turnovers in the middle of the park.
Pedri’s link-up play with the likes of de Jong and Messi were also exquisite. His fantastic through ball to Messi for the third goal of the night was simply a treat to watch and it will be interesting to see whether or not Koeman continues to deploy the youngster in a more central role in the upcoming matches.
Pedri vs Real Valladolid
80 minutes played
38 accurate passes
78% pass accuracy
4 key passes
2 accurate long balls
1 big chance created
1 successful dribble
3 ground duels won
1 aerial duel won
Yet another magnificent game from Pedri🤩 pic.twitter.com/5cMGpTpstE
— ArsenKveFCB (@ArsenKveHD) December 22, 2020
Martin Brathwaite: 7.5/10
Martin Brathwaite provided the robust, physical presence to Barcelona’s game, as he so often does. The striker also threatened Valladolid for large parts of the game and did well to score the goal in the 35th minute. His work-rate and aggression were key elements too in Barcelona’s first line of press.
Samuel Umtiti: 6.5/10
Samuel Umtiti replaced Araujo during the final phase of the game. The Frenchman looked clumsy on one instance, but he recovered well to win the ball back for his team.
Sergio Busquets: 5/10
Sergio Busquets looked clumsy and completely out of touch after coming on for de Jong late in the game. He was dispossessed once or twice, failing to provide any sort of balance in the Barcelona midfield.
Junior Firpo: 6/10
Replaced Alba in the 71st minute to get some game-time under his belt ahead of the match against SD Eibar, where he is guaranteed to start.
Philippe Coutinho: N/A
A late replacement for Pedri. Had one attempt on goal which went wide but did not play enough to warrant a rating.