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Barcelona v Arsenal: player ratings

06 Apr 2010 21:49:07

Barcelona v Arsenal: player ratings

Barcelona Victor Valdés A virtual spectator as Barcelona again dominated possession and, after saving Bendtner's initial shot, could hardly be blamed for the Arsenal goal. 6  Related ArticlesMessi dismantles ArsenalWhat makes Messi greatBarcelona 4 Arsenal 1; agg 6-3Arsene Wenger admits he must add to squadBarcelona v Arsenal: as it happenedSport on televisionDaniel Alves Less of a threat down the right than at the Emirates, but his runs still helped create plenty of space for Messi to wreak havoc all over the pitch. 6 Rafael Márquez Almost caught in possession several times and, with the rest of the Barcelona defence, was left looking for an assistant's flag that never came when Walcott provided the assist for the Arsenal goal. 6 Gabriel Milito Made one shuddering but fair tackle on Nasri and another last-gasp challenge to deny Bendtner. Was Barcelona's best defender as the European champions coped admirably without both Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique. 7 Eric Abidal Quickly looked more comfortable than Maxwell against the pace of Walcott and also got forward to good effect to provide one excellent chance for Xavi and also help set-up Barcelona's second. 7 Sergio Busquets Relatively anonymous in the opening moments, but his influence grew as the game unfolded and his pressing was again vital in depriving Arsenal of possession. 8 Xavi Missed one good early chance yet was again outstanding in setting the tempo for Barcelona and indeed the whole tie. 8 Seydou Keita Frequently drifted left to help contain Walcott's threat and, with Busquets, was essential in ensuring that the Arsenal players could never really settle on the ball. 8 Pedro Wasted one reasonable first-half chance and also occasionally wasteful in possession, although his pass to Messi for Barcelona's second was perfectly weighted. 6 Bojan Offers a greater willingness to drop deep and link the play than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while his movement was important in pulling Arsenal players out of position. Also produced one particularly cute first-half pass to create a chance for Pedro. 7 Lionel MessiUnderlined his status as the world's best player with a virtuoso performance. Four different but equally outstanding finishes for his goals even prompted generous applause from the travelling Arsenal fans. 10 SubstitutesMaxwell replaced the injured Abidal at left-back while Yaya Toure brother of Kolo provided some solidity to the Barcelona midfield during the second-half after replacing Bojan. Andrés Iniesta also made his comeback from injury in the final minutes. 7 Pep Guardiola Nothing surprising or especially clever about the tactics, although his use of Abidal and Keita did limit the threat from Walcott. Most impressive, however, is the way he seems to have instilled such confidence in his players to retain complete faith in their philosophy regardless of the circumstances. 9 Arsenal Manuel Almunia Has come out of these two matches with his reputation enhanced despite the concession of six goals. Could take little blame for Messi's first three goals and was unlucky to see the fourth fly through his legs. 6 Bacary Sagna Tried hard to provide some support to Walcott and attacking width to Arsenal, but inevitably spent most of the match chasing the shadow of Messi. 6 Mikaël Silvestre Given his lack of football, it was always going to be a huge ask for Silvestre to come straight in at centre-back for a match of such significance. After missing the chance to clear for Messi's first, he looked ponderous every time the Argentinean ran at the Arsenal defence. 4 Thomas Vermaelen Made several timely interceptions, notably to stuff out the danger from one Alves cross but conceded possession for Barcelona's crucial third goal. 5 Gaël Clichy Performed much better this week against the threat of Alves, but another Arsenal player who struggled to break forward and offer much offensive support. 6 Denilson Started extremely well with some excellent passing and important tackles, but faded as the match unfolded. Was harshly booked for one well-timed tackle on Messi. 6 Abou Diaby A considerable physical presence although was perhaps fortunate to escape without a booking following challenges on Xavi and Busquets as well as a questionable tackle in the build-up to Arsenal's goal. 7 Theo Walcott His speed caused sporadic moments of danger and he did well to drift into space to create Arsenal's first, selflessly squaring to Bendtner when there must have been a huge temptation to shoot himself. 6 Samir Nasri Required treatment after a heavy first-half challenge from Milito and struggled to impose himself as Arsenal's central playmaker in the absence of Cesc Fabregas. 5 Tomas Rosicky Wasted one of Arsenal's better second-half opportunities to get back into the game and, like Nasri, was unable to impose himself in any meaningful way. 5 Nicklas Bendtner Reacted quickly to score at second attempt and was Arsenal's main danger throughout. He also headed against the post in the second-half, albeit when he was in an offside position. 7 SubstitutesEmmanuel Eboue provided some extra energy down the right when he replaced Silvestre, causing Sagna to shuffle across to centre-back. Eduardo was unable to have any real impact and still looks well short of his best. 5 Arsène WengerDeserves respect for attempting to out-play rather than simply suppress Barcelona, but the tactics against the Spanish giants of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in 2008 and Chelsea under Guus Hiddink in 2009 did prove superior. 6


Telegraph

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