Adama Traore and Gavi failed to impress as Barcelona fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Villarreal in their final game of the season.
FC Barcelona suffered a 2-0 defeat to Villarreal in their final game of the season, leaving Xavi disappointed with his troops despite enjoying a promising campaign under the new manager. The result did not have a massive impact on the league table for Barcelona, but it was enough to seal a UEFA Europa Conference League spot for Villarreal.
Coming on the back of a draw with Getafe, Barcelona were fairly toothless during the initial stages of the game and the first half, in general. They lacked the offensive push and fail to offer a consistent threat to the Villarreal backline. Their lack of effort gave the opposition the initiative to push forward and find an opener through Alfonso Pedraza, just before half-time.
Barcelona’s attacking problems continued in the second half despite many substitutions by Xavi in an attempt to change the complexion of the game. In fact, the Catalans conceded another goal in the 55th minute through Moi Gomez, minutes after Ferran Torres was denied a penalty.
The hosts were close to pulling one back late in the game, but the goal from Frenkie de Jong was ruled out due to offside. As such, Villarreal ended up keeping the clean sheet and securing a valuable victory that ensures European football for next season. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Barcelona players in their disappointing defeat to the Yellow Submarines.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5.5/10
Marc-Andre ter Stegen could have done a bit more to keep out at least one of Villarreal’s two goals on the evening. The goalkeeper was not helped by some shoddy defending from his teammates, but one would expect better performance from the German in between the sticks.
ter stegen in big games https://t.co/UQAWGZPmx3
— s🧃 (@riskyfcb_) May 22, 2022
Dani Alves: 5/10
Dani Alves produced a mixed bag of a performance in this difficult encounter against Villarreal. He had a tough time dealing with the opposition attackers, while his lack of impact in possession affected the overall efficacy of Barcelona’s build-up play. At the same time, he did show some intent late in the game and notably had an attempt on goal almost deceive Geronimo Rulli in goal.
Ronald Araujo: 7/10
Ronald Araujo slotted back into the starting eleven after recovering from his knock. His physical and aerial prowess, coupled with his aggression was invaluable for Barcelona as it helped them keep Villarreal attackers at bay. Unfortunately for him, he was not helped out by his defensive teammates.
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
In what was probably his last game for Barcelona, Clement Lenglet had an average outing against Villarreal. He was not culpable for any of the two goals conceded, but one would argue Oscar Mingueza should have gotten the nod, in light of his performance against Getafe.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Jordi Alba returned to the starting eleven after missing the last game. His constant forays into the opposition half was something Barcelona were truly missing. However, the left-back was not as influential as he would have liked, with Villarreal fending off his threat rather well.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
Sergio Busquets’s influence in midfield was vital for Barcelona. The veteran kept things neat and tidy and played a key role in preventing the opposition from overwhelming his teammates. A stable performance from the midfielder, who was not helped out by the creative players around him.
Sergio Busquets was the player who showed the most character yesterday against Villarreal in what was a dull game. [md]
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) May 23, 2022
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Frenkie de Jong offered the grit to Busquets’s grace in the Barcelona midfield. He worked hard to make things happen in the final third and even found the back of the net, only for the referee to rule it out due to offside. De Jong deserves praise for his hard-working shift against Villarreal, but the rest of the team simply was not up to the task.
Gavi had a match to forget as the youngster struggled to offer the creative brilliance in the middle of the park. He was largely anonymous and offered very little penetration going forward, which ultimately led to his substitution during the final phase of the game.
Adama Traore: 4/10
After being handed a surprise start over Ousmane Dembele, Adama Traore had a horrific game. The Spanish attacker was overwhelmed by Villarreal’s pressing from the flank, which eventually saw him commit an error that led to the second goal, effectively sabotaging Barcelona’s chances of a potential comeback.
Adama really wants to go out with a bang, eh? Feel bad for the lad, but this just isn’t his level.
— Neal 🇦🇺 (@NealGardner_) May 22, 2022
Offensively, the Spaniard was far from brilliant. He did not offer much penetration, and it will not be surprising to see Barcelona opt out of signing him permanently this summer.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an underwhelming game against this well-drilled Villarreal defence. He was given little to no freedom in the final third, ultimately leading to the attacker becoming anonymous for a large part of the contest before he made way for Ansu Fati around the hour mark.
Ferran Torres: 6/10
Ferran Torres was the most impressive Barcelona attacker on the night, which does not stand for much as the Catalans were poor going forward. The former Manchester City attacker tried his best to make things happen and was close to winning a penalty in the second half.
Ansu Fati: 6.5/10
Ansu Fati received a rousing reception from the Barcelona fans yet again, after coming on for Aubameyang just before the hour mark. The winger was close to scoring, but he was caught offside, which eventually ruled out de Jong’s goal from the rebound.
Ousmane Dembele: 5.5/10
Ousmane Dembele did not provide much after coming on for Adama Traore just before the hour mark. It remains to be seen if this was the Frenchman’s last game for Barcelona.
Memphis Depay: 5/10
Another Barcelona attacker who did not have the desired impact and could potentially be offloaded at the end of the season.
Riqui Puig: 5/10
Riqui Puig rotated possession quite well, but it was not enough to make a difference on the night. Another player likely to leave the club this summer.
Oscar Mingueza: N/A
A late replacement for Alves. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.