Barcelona faced Real Sociedad at the cursed Anoeta stadium where they have failed to win since 2007. The ‘Curse’ of Anoeta will continue for another season as Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Sociedad. Their second draw on the trot now sees them drop four points in two games putting them six points off the top. Real Sociedad, on the other hand, move to fifth position on the table.
While the headlines around the world will say that Barcelona were held by Sociedad, it was actually the total opposite as Real Sociedad completely outplayed the Catalans. Barcelona looked absolutely clueless in the first half and were lucky to not concede. Barcelona were better in the second half but they were still not good enough as Real Sociedad were denied a win due to a questionable decision and bad luck.
Here are the player ratings from the game:
Geronimo Rulli: 6/10
Rulli was completely untroubled in the first half of the game where Barcelona had only one shot and none on target. In the second half, he made a few easy saves but could do nothing about Messi’s equaliser. He was fairly decent with his distribution and had a pretty good game.
Carlos Martinez: 6/10
The right-back had a great first half going forward and provided fantastic support to his wingers. Defensively, Martinez did a great job to hold his position. However, he was troubled by Neymar on a few occasions. In the second half, he was beaten by Neymar on a few occasions simply because of the Brazillian’s brilliance.
Raul Navas: 7/10
Navas had a solid game as the Real Sociedad centre-back shut Luis Suarez in the game. The defender had what was almost a flawless game. One of his tackles on Lionel Messi in the first half was fantastic. He led the Sociedad defence with calmness, composure and strength.
Inigo Martinez: 7.5/10
Inigo Martinez had a great game in defence after he managed to keep Lionel Messi quiet for a majority of the first half. He was also adventurous as he joined the attack on many occasions but was always back in time to slot back into his position as the centre-back. He had a great partnership with Raul Navas in the game.
Yuri Berchiche: 7/10
The left-back was playing as a second winger throughout the first half and troubled Sergi Roberto throughout the game. His crosses were dangerous but were dealt with by the Barca defence. He was beaten easily on a few occasions in the second half by Sergi Roberto and Denis Suarez.
Xabi Prieto: 7/10
The main man in the midfield, Prieto was always involved in the game. The midfielder found himself pretty deep in the Barcelona half in the first half as Sociedad controlled the game. Despite beating Jordi Alba in the air on two occasions he was unable to guide the ball into the net. He was replaced by Sergio Canales late in the second half.
The former Real Madrid man had a relatively quiet game in comparison to his teammates. However, he did exactly what was expected of him in midfield, winning balls and providing the link between attack and defence. He troubled Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets in the first half but quietened down in the second half.
One of the most underrated roles of the day belonged to Zurutuza as the midfielder completely shut down Barcelona’s enforcer – Sergio Busquets. He was strong in midfield and slotted into defence when his centre-backs went ahead to attack. His foul on Messi late on was a vital one to shut down an important attack for Barcelona.
Carlos Vela: 9/10
Arguably the best player on the pitch was Mexican international Carlos Vela. The former Arsenal player troubled Barcelona’s defence at every opportunity he had and his fantastic positioning was the reason behind Sociedad’s goal. He was extremely unlucky to have hit the woodwork on two occasions during the game and also not get a goal to his name.
Willian Jose: 8/10
The forward was always a big threat to Barcelona and deservingly grabbed a goal after the mess in Barcelona’s defence. His positioning was spot-on and he forced Barca defenders Gerrard Pique and Mascherano to make tackles to keep him out. His quick turns and movement were vital for Real Sociedad's attack.
M. Oyarzabal: 8/10
The forward who scored the winner last year when Barcelona lost at the Anoeta had a fantastic game yet again. He constantly troubled Sergi Roberto and beat the right-back on many occasions to find space to cross the ball into the Barcelona penalty area. His crosses were a constant threat that Barcelona had to deal with. He was substituted in the 85th minute to a deserving standing ovation.
After coming on in the last quarter of the game, Juanmi added to Real Sociedad's attack with his quick movement and passing. He was unlucky to have his goal wrongly ruled out by the linesman.
Estaban Granero: 7/10
The former Real Madrid man made his first appearance of the season in the 85th minute and within those five minutes, he managed to have three shots, all of which were not too far away. He looked like a man who wanted to prove a point to his boss.
Sergio Canales: N/A