Pedri's just perfect! Winners, losers & ratings as wonderkid pulls Barcelona clear of Real Madrid in Liga title fight

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Ansu Fati Pedri Barcelona 2022-23
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The 20-year-old, making his 100th Barca appearance, carried his side to a 1-0 win over mid-table Girona to extend their lead at the top to six points.

No one tracked Pedri. The Barcelona midfielder snuck in behind a Girona defender, ghosting into a pocket of space at the far post. Jordi Alba found him with a driven cross, the ball bouncing off the goalkeeper's arms and onto the Barca wonderkid's right foot, and he couldn't miss from a yard out.

His tap-in was the only goal in a tricky contest for Barcelona away at Girona. The Liga leaders created little, and faced extended periods of pressure, but managed to snatch a 1-0 win. They were perhaps lucky to come away with all three points, as a wasteful Girona side simply couldn't find an equaliser in the final minutes, despite spending an extended spell in the Barca half.

Ansu Fati came closest for Barca in the first half, blasting over on the turn from just inside the box. It was an otherwise tepid opening 45 minutes for the Blaugrana, who saw in-form winger Ousmane Dembele forced off with an apparent leg injury.

Things improved in the second, though. Xavi got a more expansive performance out of his side, who created a few more chances, with Pedri eventually getting the opener after an hour.

The Blaugrana created little after that, and were mostly forced to surrender the ball while the home side carved out opportunities, but Girona just couldn't find a way through.

Here's GOAL's winners, losers and ratings as Barca moved further clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table.

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners


    Pedri, ideally, wasn't going to be on the pitch for Barcelona on Saturday. The midfielder had picked up a knock to the knee in the Copa del Rey quarter-final and even though Xavi insisted the player was fit, the fact that he was on the bench to start with suggested otherwise. He was called into action, though, when Dembele came off injured, and although his impact wasn't immediate, Pedri was crucial for his side. The 20-year-old, making his 100th appearance for Barca, scored the winner and now has three goals in his last four games, steadily becoming a serious attacking threat.

    Jordi Alba:

    It's unclear whether Alba is carrying an injury or simply being phased out of the side, but the Spanish full-back entered the match at half-time and delivered a vintage performance. He assisted Barca's only goal with a lung-busting run and angled cross, providing a creative spark Barca has badly missed. Alba wasn't as reliable defensively - he rarely is these days - but he did make a few crucial interventions and win some key fouls deep in his own half. Barcelona were far short of their best against Girona but Alba's spark was the lift they needed to grab a win.


    The Barca head coach hasn't got the best out of his side since the Spanish Super Cup final a few weeks ago, with the Catalans having looked tired and almost incomplete. Still, they keep winning games, and tough ones at that - Atletico Madrid, Getafe and now Girona all taken care of in the league. Xavi has openly criticised his team in recent weeks for their inability to put together a cohesive 90 minutes but the table doesn't lie and that's six clear of Real Madrid, albeit having played a game more.

  2. The Losers
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    The Losers

    Ousmane Dembele:

    It's hard not to feel sorry for Dembele. The winger is in the form of his life, fresh off a man-of-the-match showing against Real Sociedad. But on Saturday, Dembele was substituted after 30 minutes with an apparent leg injury. He was shown limping towards the bench in the second half, hardly a good sign for Barca fans, with Dembele having struggled with various knocks over the course of his career. And although this one didn't appear particularly serious, it would be a massive blow for the Blaugrana if their winger spent an extended spell on the sidelines.


    What a difficult season it's been for Raphinha. He's never really got going in a Barca shirt, and has often been wasteful in the final third. That was the case on Saturday, with the former Leeds United winger showing moments of pure class but otherwise struggling to settle into a rhythm. In fairness, some of his defensive work was excellent - Raphinha won all of his tackles and tracked back diligently - but the attacking prowess that Barca expected when they signed him just hasn't been there so far. That'll need to change quickly, especially if Dembele is injured.

    Taty Castellanos:

    The former NYCFC striker had a few chances but never took advantage. Barcelona were sloppy at the back, with Castellanos often afforded too much space, but he finished the game with little to show for it. Indeed, he had two shots, touched the ball 28 times, and only completed 60% of his passes, before being booked and then substituted after 70 minutes. He needed to deliver his best for Girona to claim a result, but was miles off the pace.

  3. Barcelona Ratings: Defence
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    Barcelona Ratings: Defence

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7/10):

    Had little to do until the last 10 minutes, when he made two crucial saves. That's 14 clean sheets in 18 Liga games this season.

    Marcos Alonso (5/10):

    Didn't offer much in the first half, with a steady but unspectacular showing. Subbed at half-time.

    Eric Garcia (6/10):

    Very good in possession and handled Castellanos well, but he was fortunate not to have given away at least one penalty. Baffling that none of the three incidents involving him resulted in a spot-kick.

    Ronald Araujo (7/10):

    Didn't have much to do, as Girona targeted Barca's left-hand-side. Was tidy when called upon.

    Jules Kounde (6/10):

    Advanced the ball a lot, but didn't offer too much as a creative outlet in the final third. Not always on the same page as Raphinha. Solid at the back, otherwise.

  4. Midfield
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    Frenkie de Jong (6/10):

    Average. Didn't do loads wrong, but didn't impress.

    Sergio Busquets (7/10):

    Won his tackles, broke up play, stopped some counter-attacks. A typical Sergio Busquets performance.

    Gavi (5/10):

    Scrappy but never really got in the game. One to forget for the teenager.

  5. Attack
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    Ousmane Dembele (5/10):

    Bright start, but substituted inside 30 minutes with a leg injury.

    Ansu Fati (5/10):

    Xavi insists that Fati is a No.9, but it's difficult to see at the moment. He has improved, but the goals simply aren't coming. The 20-year-old will benefit with moving to the left wing when Lewandowski returns.

    Raphinha (5/10):

    Excellent defensively, lacking in the final third. A puzzling player.

  6. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Pedri (8/10):

    Scored the winner and was typically wonderful to watch.

    Jordi Alba (7/10):

    Changed the game with his direct running, and assisted the winner.

    Alejandro Balde (6/10):

    On for 10 minutes in a more advanced position. Wasn't really involved.

    Franck Kessie (5/10):

    Played five minutes. Touched the ball once.

    Xavi (7/10):

    An odd one for the manager. His team hasn't been at their best recently, and he won't have been overly impressed with the performance here, but the wins keep on coming. The sign of a title-winning team and Xavi's at the heart of it.