FC Barcelona

Barcelona 4-2 Real Sociedad: Player ratings as Blaugrana earn thrilling opening day win

Max Parsons
Joy for the Barcelona players
Joy for the Barcelona players / Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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A Lionel Messi-less Barcelona kicked their La Liga campaign off with a deserved 4-2 win over Real Sociedad, although they had to survive a late comeback scare.

Ronald Koeman's men showed their hunger from the outset and got their reward within 20 minutes. Memphis Depay, on his competitive debut, grabbed an assist for the opener with a beautifully whipped free kick into the box, which Gerard Pique connected with clinically to head past Alex Remiro.

La Blaugrana doubled their lead in the second minute of first half stoppage time, when Braithwaite stopped in at the back post to emphatically head home from Frenkie de Jong's deep cross. And the Denmark international added another fifteen minutes into the second period, smashing into the back of the net after Jordi Alba's cross was palmed into his path by Remiro.

Real Sociedad looked livelier throughout the second half and eventually found a way through with eight minutes of the match remaining. Ander Barrenetxea's brilliantly weighted ball through the Blaugrana defence was met well by Julen Lobete, who gave Neto no chance of keeping his clean sheet.

Three minutes later, La Real gave the hosts a massive scare when Mikel Oyarzabal struck a perfect free kick into the top corner - pulling the score back to 3-2 and setting up a very nervy finale.

Koeman's side kept their composure, however, and put the game to bed in the first minute of added time. Hitting La Real on the counter, substitute Sergi Roberto buried Braithwaite's pull back from close range, sealing the points to begin the post-Messi era in style.

Now, let's get to the player ratings...


Barcelona player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Neto (GK) - 6/10 - Forced into one decent save from a long-range strike but but was given no chance with either of Real Sociedad's goals.

Sergino Dest (RB) - 6/10 - Pushed up throughout, although his end product in dangerous areas was somewhat lacking.

Eric Garcia (CB) - 7/10 -
Demonstrated great speed and awareness to stifle opposition counter attacks, covering for his more aged centre-back partner. Effective and impressive debut for the 20-year old, making seven interventions.

Gerard Pique (CB) - 8/10 -
Experienced defending kept Pique close to Real Sociedad's frontline at all times. Finished well to head his side in front in the first half.

Jordi Alba (LB) - 8/10 -
Typically enthusiastic with his offensive responsibilities, maintaining a high position to pin La Real back and deliver quality into the area.

2. Midfielders

https://twitter.com/FCBarcelona/status/1426976550713446408
Frenkie De Jong shone in the Barca midfield / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Sergio Busquets (DM) - 6/10 - Was allowed a fairly easy ride courtesy of the intensity of those in front of him, but still swept up the midfield nicely and kept the side ticking along from deep.

Frenkie de Jong (CM) - 8/10 -
Added a drive and thrust from midfield, carrying his side up the pitch with stunning impetus. Key in linking things, the Dutchman maintained a pass accuracy of 100% - making three key passes and grabbing a lovely assist for his side's second.

Pedri (CM) - 7/10 -
How the 18-year-old is still on his feet we'll never know. Still, another brilliant display. Elusive in his movement, Pedri played with maturity once more, demonstrated by his spatial awareness and silky use of possession.

3. Forwards

Martin Braithwaite, Memphis Depay, Pedri
Martin Braithwaite and Memphis Depay were excellent against Real Sociedad / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann (RW) - 7/10 - Floated around well, finding space in some threatening areas. Excellent work rate led to ten interventions for his side, although he lacked a killer touch in the final third..

Memphis Depay (ST) - 8/10 -
If Carlsberg did debuts... Flamboyant, thrilling, unpredictable, passionate, tireless, audacious, integral - you pick a word, Memphis was it. Made four key passes, including a brilliant assist for the man whose pay cut allowed his registration as a Barça player - yes, very poetic - and, while he couldn't manage a goal, he deservedly got a standing ovation as he exited the field late on.

Martin Braithwaite (LW) - 9/10 -
You may mock but the Dane will definitely have a role to play this season. Maintained his side's intensity with some workhorse-like pressing, got the assist for his side's fourth and deservedly grabbed a well-taken brace to cap off a talismanic performance.

4. Substitutes

Sergi Roberto (CM) - 7/10 - Tapped in from a yard out to grab the goal that settled any nerves.

Emerson (RB) - 4/10 - Lost his man in the build up to Real Sociedad's first, allowing them a route back into the game.

Ronald Araujo (CB) - N/A

Nico Gonzalez (DM) - N/A

Clement Lenglet (CB) - N/A

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