Barcelona vs Olympiacos: Player Ratings
Barcelona played an entire half with just 10 men but were at their assertive best against Olympiacos.
Barcelona hosted Olympiacos in the matchday 3 of the Group D in the UEFA Champions League in what would be a reunion of current Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde with his former employers.
The hosts took the lead in the 18th minute through an own goal from Dimitris Nikolaou. However, Gerard Pique’s sending off late in the 1st half presented Olympiacos with a glorious opportunity to cause an upset but it was not to be as Lionel Messi stuck via a free-kick in the 61st minute to complete 100 goals in European competitions and then assisted Lucas Digne’s goal just 3 minutes later to help his side the upper hand in the game.
While Nikolaou did make amends for his earlier mistake with a goal for Olympiacos in the 89th minute, it failed to impact the result of the game and Barcelona continue their perfect record in the group stages.
Here are the player ratings from the game.
Marc Ander Ter Stegen – 6
With Barcelona dominating the proceedings, even with 10 minutes on the pitch, Ter Stegen had very little to do in the game. The visitors had just 3 shots on target, one of which resulted in their only goal of the evening late in the game and the German shot-stopper could do nothing to prevent it from going in.
Sergi Roberto – 6
The 25-year-old Spaniard was tidy with his passing and got into some advantageous positions on the pitch. However, he could not entirely help his side’s attacking endeavours as he looked restricted going forward. He created no goal scoring opportunity and often found it tough getting past the opposition with the ball at his feet.
Gerard Pique – 4
The Spanish defender was sent off in the 42nd minute when he decided to use his hand to score a goal and it was a foolhardy thing to do for the experienced defender. Thankfully for Pique, his departure did not have any impact on the game as Olympiacos failed to utilise their advantage.
Samuel Umtiti – 7
It was another of those nights where we were impressed by the French defender who is fast developing into one of the most reliable players in the Barcelona squad. His positional awareness was on point throughout the game and the defender constantly looked to drive Barcelona forward as he spent a considerable time of the night in the Olympiacos half.
Lucas Digne – 7
The left-back began the evening timidly but grew into the game with the passage of time. With Jordi Alba recently picking up an injury in training, Digne might find himself in a more prominent position in the weeks to come and the Frenchman did not fail to show why he is believed to be amongst the best in the business as he capped off a decent night with a brilliant goal late in the game.
Sergio Busquets – 6
It was a solid performance yet again from Busquets, whose role became even more important in the 2nd half with his side reduced to just 10 men and the Spaniard did not disappoint as he kept things ticking in the favour of his side and helped them establish their dominance over their visitors on the evening.
Andres Iniesta – 7
The magical central midfielder had a quiet game by his standards but did well to ensure that he glued together the moves of his teammates. However, there were moments in the game where Iniesta’s movement on and off the ball made you sit up and wonder how he does it with such ease and credit to Olympiacos for containing him in the 2nd half.
Paulinho – 8
The flair of Barcelona required a driving force at the start of the season and it has been provided adequately by Paulinho. The Brazilian has been the driving force in Barca’s midfield and yet again showed to the world why Barcelona paid in excess of £36 million with a clinical performance.
He created 3 goal scoring opportunities, was a constant menace to the opposition with his movement on the ball and was always available to help his side negotiate any threat from Olympiacos.
Gerard Deulofeu – 7
Deulofeu, who was making his first-ever start in the UEFA Champions League was impressive during the game. He was a constant menace to the Olympiacos defence as he constantly poked and probed the Olympiacos defence with his movement on the ball and it was his attempted cross that Nikolaou inadvertently put into his own net.
The only issue with his game at the moment seems to be his decision making as he constantly chose the wrong pass or decided to take on a player when he should have passed the ball, and for the Spaniard to enjoy extended game time with the Catalan club, he will need to improve on that aspect of his game.
Luis Suarez – 4
Where is the Luis Suarez that we have grown so fond of over the last few years? The Uruguayan has been a shadow of himself in the last few weeks and it appears as if his magical touch, which tormented defenders and managers alike, seems to have parted ways with him, at least temporarily.
Suarez was guilty of missing an easy opportunity in the first half and thereafter, found it hard to get into action as he managed just 2 shots post the interval and created a solitary goal scoring opportunity.
Lionel Messi – 9
It was another night that Lionel Messi decided to leave his mark upon. The Argentine superstar scored a sublime free-kick in the 61st minute to score his 100th goal in European competitions and capped off the evening with an assist just 3 minutes later to assuage any claims that Barcelona might find it tough to handle the visitors with just 10 minutes on the pitch.
Records continue to tumble for Messi and the diminutive magician appears keen on furthering his reputation as the greatest of all time.
Javier Mascherano – 7
Mascherano does the simple things really well and the Argentine put in a solid performance after coming on to partner Umtiti at the heart of the Barca defence post the sending off of Pique.
Ivan Rakitic – 6
Rakitic, who came on in the 65th minute, kept things ticking to assert their side’s dominance on the game. However, with the game firmly in their bag by the time he came on, he failed to attack to his side’s attacking endeavours.