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Preview: Barcelona

Barca Blaugranes - All Posts


Updated: 2017-11-23T00:45:02+01:00


Juventus 0-0 Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: Player Ratings




Marc André ter Stegen (7/10)

A fairly decent outing for the German. His distribution was on point for most of the game and he made some excellent saves during the course of the game.

Nélson Semedo (7/10)

The Portuguese full-back was impressive throughout the game. He constantly pressured Alex Sandro and kept the Brazilian in check. His offensive output was good while his defensive presence was solid.

Gerard Piqué (7/10)

Gerard Piqué had a quiet night which is a good thing. The Catalan was imposing in defence and cut out almost every single threat in the Barcelona box.

Samuel Umtiti (6/10)

Umtiti was a little off on the night and despite some scary moments, the Frenchman got away without any consequence. His passing was off and his positioning was suspect, but he got better as the game went on.

Lucas Digne (6/10)

Digne was a surprise inclusion ahead of Jordi Alba but was solid and impressive for the most part. Despite his lack of offensive output, he did enough in defence.

Sergio Busquets (8/10)

Despite some stray passes, Busquets brought his A-game on the night. Also, he destroyed Miralem Pjanic.

Andrés Iniesta (7/10)

Iniesta was great in attack and pressed the opposition like a hound, often coming to the aid of his defender.

Ivan Rakitić (5/10)

Every time the ball went to Rakitić, you could feel the game slow down like a terrapin. His runs were slow, his dribbles were pointless, and his passes lacked purpose. Apart from a brilliant set-piece delivery, the Croatian offered very little to the game.

Paulinho (6/10)

I want to say that Paulinho was terrible, but he wasn’t. He was just not playing in a role he understands. You don’t ask a box-to-box midfielder to play as a striker.

Gerard Deulofeu (6/10)

A fairly decent outing with very little to show.

Luis Suárez (7/10):

Forced out wide, Suárez was pretty ineffective for most of the game. However, he made a few runs that destabilised the opposition’s defence.

Lionel Messi (NA):

Not enough playing time.

Jordi Alba (NA):

Not enough playing time.

Ernesto Valverde (5/10)

Valverde has made some unorthodox selections in his time with Barcelona, but this one was probably as perplexing as they come.

Valverde explains why he left Lionel Messi out against Juventus



Ernesto Valverde raised eyebrows on Wednesday night, opting to leave Lionel Messi out of his starting line-up for the clash against Juventus in Turin.

It was a massive call by the Barca coach and it worked out as his side drew 0-0 with Juventus to secure their spot in the knockout stages.

Valverde spoke after the game and explained why he had left the little genius on the bench

“No, Messi wasn’t suffering a knock - we just decided that for once he might rest although the idea was always that we’d keep it tight without him and then let him try and open up the game in the second half.

“Leaving Messi out was difficult but he has played a lot this season and today we saw a long and tough contest so we thought a rest would do him good.”

Messi came on in the 55th minute so will be pretty fresh for Sunday’s crucial clash against Valencia.

It’s been a good week for Barca, beating Leganes at the weekend, getting the result they needed in Turin - now can they make it a great week at Mestalla on Sunday?

Juventus 0-0 Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: Match Review


Recap of the action from Barcelona’s scoreless draw against Juventus. Barcelona secured the solitary point in Turin that was needed for the Catalans to secure first place in Group D. The scoreless draw will not go down as one of the better games of football this season, but Ernesto Valverde seemingly went into the game going for the point and make the last group stage match against Sporting a mere formality from Barcelona’s standpoint. For the first time this season, not counting the Copa del Rey match against Real Murcia, Lionel Messi did not start for Valverde’s Barcelona. The Argentine was on the bench for this one, while Paulinho and Gerard Deulofeu started alongside Luis Suarez in attack. The only other surprise in the Barcelona lineup was that Lucas Digne began the match over Jordi Alba on the left side of the defense. The match started in very lively fashion, with both sides looking to attack in numbers and looking strong in defense. The hosts were the first to threaten, as Douglas Costa fired from deep in the penalty area after a quick Juventus counter attack, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen made the strong save. Barcelona looked threatening in attack, but breaching the last Juve line proved difficult. As a result, the only two shots Barcelona took in the early going came from distance, but Paulinho was both times off the mark. Both teams looked solid in defense, especially Juventus, but in quick succession around the quarter hour mark both teams made mistakes that resulted in scoring chances. First, Juan Cuadrado misplaced a header back to Gianluigi Buffon, but from a very tough angle Andres Iniesta couldn’t threaten. On the other side just moments later, first Iniesta and then Samuel Umtiti made rare turnovers resulting in a Paulo Dybala shot from the right side, but ter Stegen was again in the perfect position to make the save. Barcelona came within inches of scoring in the 22nd minute. Iniesta won a free kick a long way from Buffon from which Ivan Rakitić looked to set up one of his teammates in the danger area. But his long ball went untouched and hit Buffon’s left post. The rebound hit Paulinho, but with no time to react the Brazilian couldn’t direct the header on goal. Neither side was able to create much over the next minutes, but there was still plenty of action on the pitch as both teams looked to play quick, attractive football. Just after the opening 30 minutes play was stopped by referee Milorad Mažić as not one, but two Barcelona defenders were taken out by Cuadrado. The Colombian pushed Digne under the oncoming Umtiti, leaving both down. Digne was fairly quick to get up, but Umtiti needed more time, clenching his knee while receiving assistance, but after some time and a few wobbly steps he too was able to continue. Oftentimes Juventus looked the more dangerous team on the pitch, but apart from the two early shots by Costa and Dybala, Juve couldn’t create many scoring chances. Barcelona wasn’t faring much better on the other end, but on a couple occasions, which often included a great run from Nelson Semedo, the “only” thing that was missing was a slightly more accurate final pass. Even though they didn’t especially excel, Barcelona didn’t look bad in attack, but the Catalans didn’t manage a shot on goal until the 43rd minute when Deulofeu sent a hopeful shot from the edge of the area that Buffon saved easily. Juventus countered quickly with Dybala playing catalyst by starting the quick attack. The Argentine was moments later inside the Barcelona area taking the shot, but he shot over the crossbar. Neither manager made any changes to their personnel, but several players started to warm up immediately after the break, including Messi who was stretching on the sideline. On the pitch, the tactical battle continued, but Barcelona threated first. Suarez fired a dangerous free kick from 25 yards out destined for the top corner, but a slight redirection in the wall by Andrea Barzagli sent the ball just over the bar, [...]

Ter Stegen’s amazing record after Barcelona’s draw with Juventus



Proof that the goalkeeper is almost unbeatable

Another game and another clean sheet for Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Barcelona held Juventus to a 0-0 draw in Turin.

It’s a great result for Barca that sends them into the knockout stages as group winners with a game to spare.

Ter Stegen was again called into action against Juventus but the Italian champions could not find a way past the German, to be fair not many have this season.

Thankfully, it’s not because of any injury concerns, says journalist Gerard Romero. He says it is a “technical decision.” and Messi is resting up for Barcelona’s huge clash against Valencia on Sunday.

If so, that’s one hell of a bold move from Valverde, but there is logic to it. Barcelona are almost assured a spot in the knockout stages, and a draw tonight would be enough to win the group outright.

Meanwhile, Valencia are flying high and pose a serious threat to the Blaugrana in La Liga, just four points behind.

Still, this is not something you’d expect... and let’s not forget Barça are not assured of anything in the Champions League yet.

Juventus vs. Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: CONFIRMED Lineups, Live Game Thread



Lineups, television and streaming options, and full coverage of Olympiacos vs Barcelona in the Champions League. Join the conversation!


Preview: Juventus vs. Barcelona, Champions League Round 5

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 9:45pm local time, 8:45pm (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7:45pm (UK), 3:45pm ET, 12:45pm PT (USA), 1:15am IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

Television: Fox Sports 1 (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), Canal+ Sport 1 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 1 (India)

Online streaming: WatchESPN, Fox Soccer Match Pass (USA), BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)



Starting XI: Buffon; Benatia, Barzagli, Rugani; Cuadrado, Pjanić. Khedira, Sandro; Costa, Higuain, Dybala

Bench: Szczęsny, De Sciglio, Marchisio, Asamoah, Bentancur, Matuidi, Mandžukič


Starting XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitić, Busquets, Iniesta; Paulinho, Messi, Deulofeu

Bench: Cillessen, Vermaelen, Vidal, Alba, Suarez, Messi, Alcacer


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