FC Barcelona have managed to overcome Deportivo Alaves at home. The Catalan giants have managed to win with a scoreline of 2-1 over their visiting opponents. Far from smooth sailings, however, as Barcelona had to struggle a lot for this victory.
Having conceded within the opening 20 seconds of the game, Barcelona were already on the back foot. Gradually, however, they began to improve. A mixed first-half performance was ultimately overshadowed by a brilliant display for much of the second half.
A huge amount of credit will also go to Robert Lewandowski. Coming on to the field in the second half quite revitalized and different from his first-half version, his brace ultimately helped Barcelona take all three points.
Here is how the players fared against Alaves:
Ter Stegen: 5.5
Could not do much about the first goal, but Ter Stegen was nearly invisible the entire game. In some cases, the shots did not come on target for him to save and at other points, the Alaves attack was thwarted by the Barcelona defenders.
Jules Kounde: 6.5
Struggled significantly against Alaves’s target man, and had to be swapped with Ronald Araujo as a result. Not a great game for the birthday boy despite his assist for Lewandowski, and one which he will need to forget if he hopes to return to his best version.
Ronald Araujo: 7.5
It was the switch made by Xavi to exchange the positions of Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde that changed the game. The Catalan giants felt much safer with the Uruguayan watching the central channels and he even made sure to contribute in attack whenever he could.
Inigo Martinez: 7.0
The Spaniard was the consistent gel at the back for Barcelona. When others drifted forward away from the Barça goal, Inigo Martinez remained as the last line of defense. He also played a defense-splitting pass that resulted in a Barcelona penalty.
Joao Cancelo: 7.0
The Portuguese fullback seems to be effective no matter where Xavi plays him. His technical abilities always seem to be one step ahead of everyone around him and he was once again key in helping Barcelona both advance as well as defend whenever he could manage to track back.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6.5
The German veteran was heavily responsible for the first goal that Barcelona conceded. However, he slowly redeemed himself over the course of the game with some clever passing and helping Barcelona better control proceedings.
Not exactly his brightest game, but a cool performance nonetheless. Pedri’s ability to find his teammates in isolated spaces despite the crowd in front of him is a unique joy to watch. Was substituted by Oriol Romeu near the end of the game as a tactical switch.
Fermin Lopez: 6.5
The dynamic youngster had his moments to shine. However, unlike most of his prominent endeavors, the 20-year-old was unable to have as significant an impact as he typically does.
Lamine Yamal: 7.0
The youngster was cornered for much of the first half as Alaves looked to double-team on him. However, following the attacking changes made by Xavi, Yamal had a lot more room to operate and mess with the opposition’s heads.
Robert Lewandowski: 8.5
Scored a brilliant header to tie the game for Barcelona. While his first-half performance was forgettable, his second-half display was simply a joy to watch. He later stepped up to take a penalty for Barcelona and emphatically converted it into the top corner. Brilliant performance.
Joao Felix: 7.5
Arguably the most effective of the forwards during the first half and for the time that he was on the field, Joao Felix had a great game. Was unable to score or provide an assist, however, despite the fact that his performance warranted one.
Ferran Torres: 6.5
The pace of Ferran Torres was an abrupt change for the Alaves defense that had become accustomed to dealing with Lewandowski all game. As a consequence, Torres managed to win Barcelona a penalty that would ultimately give them the game-winning goal.
The Brazilian was decent with his movement and made some clever runs in the central channels. Not enough time to contribute much else, however.
Alejandro Balde: 6.0
Similar to Raphinha, made some good runs and ensured that Barcelona now had offensive width on the left flank to count on if needed. A better progressive display than some of his recent games.
Oriol Romeu: N/A
Did not have too much of an involvement to warrant a rating. However, he did play some good football in the short duration he was on.