FC Barcelona emerged victorious against Real Sociedad from an encounter that was nail-biting until the last minute. Ronald Araujo’s heroic last-minute winner ended up giving the Catalan giants all three points. Where tactics arguably failed, certain individual performances stood out.
Most Barcelona players certainly did not enjoy their best night in a Blaugrana jersey. However, others proved to be the point of difference in a game where Barcelona needed heroes.
A 1-0 victory may not have felt deserved given Sociedad’s dominant performance, but league campaigns always have games where scraping any sort of win together can go a long way. Here is how the Barcelona players fared:
Ter Stegen: 8.0
Absolutely vital for FC Barcelona in goal all night. His saves were key and his passes were instrumental in helping Barcelona circulate possession. Great overall performance from the Barcelona captain to keep his side in the game.
Ronald Araujo: 8.0
The hero of the hour, Ronald Araujo ended up winning Barcelona all three points. His defensive work was already tremendous before the added time came around.
However, in those dying moments of the game, when everyone else stood still gasping at the cross sent in by Ilkay Gundogan, only Araujo was running to meet it. The rest, as they say, will now be part of history.
Jules Kounde: 7.0
The Frenchman was key when it came to helping Barcelona retain their clean sheet. His interceptions, blocks, and quick recoveries helped the Catalan giants keep Real Sociedad at bay. His return to the starting eleven was truly met with a great impact on the game by the player.
Inigo Martinez: 7.5
Clever passes that were both line-breaking and fast to travel, Inigo Martinez utilized his entire passing range to keep Sociedad on their toes. Constantly thwarting the opposition’s defensive structure, he was also a destroyer for Barcelona. Regular tackles and a great defensive display both ensured Barça managed to keep a clean sheet.
Alejandro Balde: 7.0
Much better from the young fullback than his recent performances. His speed and daring nature allowed him to thwart Real Sociedad several times on the night. The 19-year-old may now finally have the nudge he needed to return to his best level.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8.0
The German midfield ended up arguably becoming the hero for Barcelona on a tense night. His game-winning assist to Ronald Araujo will be remembered as being crucial to this season for Barcelona if it ends up amounting to anything. Classy performance from the former Manchester City star.
Fermin Lopez: 6.5
Did his best to help Barcelona in both attack and midfield whenever and wherever he could. However, his impact overall was not too significant and ended up being Xavi’s first change of the night on a rather quiet night for Fermin Lopez.
A bit frustrating at times with his decision-making on the night, but redeemed himself with other contributions. He was aggressive in duels which allowed him to regularly break apart most chances of a counter that Sociedad managed to create.
Joao Cancelo: 6.5
Made some impressive passes and connected well with his teammates. On the other hand, seemed quite ineffective as a right-winger yet again. Xavi will seriously need to rethink his tactics in regards to using the Portuguese fullback as a forward.
Robert Lewandowski: 6.0
The Polish veteran was finally allowed back into the starting eleven following enough rest to recover. He did, however, leave much to be desired in his performance. A rather stale performance from the Barcelona striker ended up with him being replaced by Ferran Torres.
Joao Felix: 7.0
Despite not being involved for much of the first half, Joao Felix was perhaps the most effective player in the frontline. Particularly near the end of the first half and then his spell in the second half. Offered more dynamism and created much more danger than his partners in attack.
Truly a delight to see Pedri return to the field for FC Barcelona. Injury may have kept him away, but it is a great sight to see Pedri showcase that his magic is still very much intact. A clever pass to Gavi in particular should have seen the latter make much more of it.
Ferran Torres: 6.5
Showcased a clear difference in his approach to the game than Lewandowski’s. Much quicker to react and much more eager to attack the Sociedad goal, Ferran Torres was a healthy addition to an otherwise toothless Barcelona side on the night.
The Brazilian was a dynamic addition himself, even while playing as a left-winger. His quick feet allowed Barcelona to enter some dangerous positions at various points.
Lamine Yamal: 6.0
Young Lamine Yamal showed his great footwork on certain occasions. Dancing his way through multiple Real Sociedad defenders, the 16-year-old was great fun to watch.