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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Player Ratings: Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United

It was not what we expected, to say the least.Barcelona more or less dominated the entire game, but lacked sharpness and could not carve out the killer pass to produce a goal.United had a penalty in the opening moments, but were otherwise on the back foot for much of the game and could not string any good play together, with a very curious formation and team selection clearly responsible for their unconvincing display.


Valdés - 6: Untested and looked relatively calm.

Zambrotta - 6: A little nervy at times, and conceded a few fouls. Grew in confidence in the second period.

Márquez - 5: A strong presence in defence, lucky to get away with a foul on Ronaldo in the area. Largely untested.

Milito - 5: A shakier presence in defence, but a touch unfortunate to concede the early penalty. Thankfully for him, it was put wide by Ronaldo. Like his defensive partner, did much of nothing for most of the game.

Abidal - 6: Looked fairly strong up and down his flank, very athletic and a good outlet.

Xavi - 7: Rarely gave the ball away, kept things ticking in midfield, but didn't bring his expansive game to the table and could not produce a decisive final ball.

Yaya Touré - 8: Dominant. Won the ball consistently in midfield and distributed well. Also made some good forward runs.

Deco - 7: Surprisingly energetic. Bossed Paul Scholes with great workrate we have not seen from the Portuguese in a long time. His passing was not quite as incisive as Barça would have hoped, though.

Messi - 7.5: The outstanding player in the first half. Every time he got on the ball he looked to charge straight through United's defenses and, more often than not, he did a good job of it. Lit up an already exciting encounter and all he lacked was end product.

Eto'o - 5: Was well marked by Rio Ferdinand for most of the game, wasn't sharp enough with the few chances that came his way.

Iniesta - 6: Full of energy. Uninvolved in the first half, but in the second he showed off his touch and dribbling from time to time. Lacking an end product.


Bojan - 5: Did not get in the game as much as he would have liked. Unable to put any mazy runs together.

Henry - 6: Lashed a shot at Van der Sar soon after coming on but was otherwise uninvolved.

Manchester United

Van der Sar - 6: Quite nervy in the first half despite being largely untested; some stray kicks put his defence under undue pressure. In the second half he made a few good stops and will be happy with the clean sheet.

Hargreaves - 6: Looked competent in an unfavoured position at right-back. Is good defensively and a hard worker, but was missed in midfield.

Ferdinand - 8: Strong in defence and never looked like being beaten. Matched Samuel Eto'o very well and almost kept United in the game single-handledly times.

Brown - 5: Started a little slow, but grew in confidence and was solid on the cover for most of the first half. Lucky not to concede a penalty at the beginning of the second half.

Evra - 7: A bundle of energy and was a little erratic to start with, but kept the ball better from then on. A good outlet on the left and strong defensively when left one-on-one with whoever was put infront of him.

Rooney - 5: Curiously played in right wing and as good as anonymous for most of the game. Shadowed well by Abidal and just not able to get in the game at all. Quite unlucky to be substituted before being given more time up front.

Carrick - 6: Bypassed quite frequently, but fairly strong in the challenge on occasion. Made a great saving tackle at the beginning of the second half and had a better end to the game.

Scholes - 4: A somewhat humiliating outing for the veteran. Deco has not played in several weeks, having been out with an injury, and in recent times, has not been known as the most industrious player. With that considered, the Portuguese bossed Scholes from minute one, as the United playmaker was continually beaten off the ball and had little to no impact on proceedings.

Park - 4: Energetic but ultimately of little use going forward. Could perhaps have been deployed in a defensive capacity to make up for Scholes' deficiencies in midfield, but he wasn't. Fairly useless.

Tévez - 5: Made some sloppy challenges when dropping deep and again, was not able to impose himself in an offensive capacity due to a strange choice of formation. Ineffective.

Ronaldo - 5: Won a free-kick, won a corner, won a penalty and missed the penalty - all within the first two minutes! Cristiano Ronaldo in a nutshell. Looked lively and his movement kept Barcelona busy, but ultimately, he missed the only clear-cut opportunity of the whole game, for either side. Could have had another penalty later in the first half, but the referee probably felt he was evening things out by denying the Devils.


Nani - n/a.

Giggs - n/a.

Sulmaan Ahmad