La Liga: Sevilla FC 2-3 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno - Getty Images

A player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's narrow comeback victory over Sevilla.

Victor Valdes 5.5
Minutes played90
Touches22
Passes9
Pass Accuracy56%
Shots Faced3
Saves Made1

Arron says6.5

Once again, it was another quiet day in goal for Victor Valdés, yet somehow he still conceded twice. Maybe he could have done better with the first goal, it was a low shot that lacked any real placement, but he must have seen it late thanks to Alves’ bizarre positioning. However, he cannot be held accountable for the second goal, which was a combination of great play from Alvaro Negredo and poor defending from Sergio Busquets/Alex Song. All in all, it was another average performance from the Catalan.

Dani Alves 5.1
Minutes played79
Touches104
Passes72
Pass Accuracy89%
Key Passes0
Tackles3
Interceptions2
Turnovers3

Arron says6.5

There is no doubting his ability, but sometimes it appears as though Alves simply doesn’t care about the match he’s playing. Granted, it must be tough to face your former club, especially when they have played such a massive part in your career, but that’s no reason to disappear from a game – which is basically what Alves did. His positioning for the first goal was questionable to say the least; even a token attempt at blocking would have made us feel a little better. Looking at the stats, he didn’t make any major errors, but there was something about the performance which just seemed off.

Alex Song 5.6
Minutes played90
Touches80
Passes68
Pass Accuracy90%
Tackles3
Interceptions3
Clearances3

Arron says6.5

How many times we will have to hear that Alex Song is not a natural centre-back? Yes, that is true, but it’s hardly an excuse given that he is playing at centre-back. Taking the argument to an extreme, you wouldn’t make excuses for a striker playing in goal, instead you would question why on earth that striker is playing in goal, and why there isn’t a goal-keeper between the sticks. It’s similar here, he isn’t a centre-half, so why is he playing at centre-half and why did we sign him over the inexpensive, La Masia centre-half Alberto Botia? Song played OK, but made a couple of errors which ultimately went punished. Then again, least he isn’t as bad as Hleb.

Javier Mascherano 6.0
Minutes played90
Touches75
Passes65
Pass Accuracy86%
Tackles3
Interceptions2
Clearances2

Arron says6.5

He did what he could, but with little in the way of support, Mascherano ultimately couldn’t keep Sevilla at bay. Whether he’s simply fatigued, or carrying a small injury of some sorts, Mascherano didn’t quite seem himself, and hasn’t for a few weeks now. Maybe a rest tonight would do him good?

Jordi Alba 6.8
Minutes played90
Touches84
Passes45
Pass Accuracy96%
Key Passes2
Tackles1
Interceptions2
Turnovers4
Clearances7

Arron says7.5

Headed into the match, the spotlight was on that right-wing battle between Jesus Navas and Jordi Alba; would the Spaniard be able to keep his compatriot at bay, despite his relative inexperience in a Barcelona shirt? Turns out that he could. Jesus Navas played pretty badly on Saturday with Alba the main reason for that poor performance. Navas couldn’t rely on pace alone to beat his man, and much like a winger playing for the Blaugrana, he had no other "tricks" to fall back on. With Adriano now recovered from his injury, Tito has quite a decision to make: Alba or Adriano?

Sergio Busquets 5.9
Minutes played75
Touches66
Passes62
Pass Accuracy95%
Tackles1
Interceptions0
Clearances1
Key Passes0

Arron says6.5

Sergio Busquets attempted 62 passes on Saturday night and completed 95% of those passes. That means that in the entire 90 minutes, he only misplaced three passes; the trouble is that one of those misplaced passes led to a goal, so it distorts our view of his performance. Granted, this wasn’t a vintage display from Busquets, but it was hardly his worst performance either bearing in mind that he missed training last week with discomfort in his back.

Cesc Fàbregas 8.6
Minutes played90
Touches79
Passes64
Pass Accuracy83%
Shots/Shots on Target4/3
Tackles3
Clearances1
Turnovers3
Key Passes2

Arron says9.0

Was this his best performance in a Barcelona shirt? That’s not for me to say, but it was almost certainly the most important. Barca were staring at their first league defeat of the season until Cesc took the initiative and dare I say it, it appeared as though no-one else was going step-up and get the goals. His first was an excellent strike which gave Palop no chance, and his second was a cute finish – a return of the Cesc of old if you will. However, we all know that his goals aren’t the headline story...

Now, I mentioned it in the review, and still some people disagreed. In Spain, the reaction was similar – Cesc was in the wrong and its proof of some conspiracy against Real Madrid. That’s right – not against Sevilla, the team immediately affected by the calls – Real Madrid. Whatever the case, I still cannot fathom how Cesc Fàbregas is in the wrong here. Medel has a history of questionable (read: ultra-aggressive behaviour) and he still walked towards and into Cesc. Medel’s head made contact with Fàbregas, and while it wasn’t a head-butt of Zidane proportions, it was enough. Why else would Medel walk towards Cesc off the ball? To shake his hand? Maybe he wanted to compliment him on his earlier goal? Chances are, Medel wanted to hurt Fàbregas anyway, so how is Cesc in the wrong?

Xavi Hernández 7.2
Minutes played90
Touches122
Passes103
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target2/0
Fouls Won1
Turnovers4
Key Passes2

Arron says7.5

With Busquets possibly carrying a slight injury, the onus was on Xavi to control the midfield, a task he carried out with relative ease. Xavi made the most touches of any player on the field; more than Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Piotr Trowchowski combined, although one could argue that he did far less to influence the match. With Cesc Fàbregas playing so well, Xavi didn’t have to surge forward like he has done in previous games, allowing him to conserve energy for the hectic schedule – which is just as well with Thiago out for the next couple of months.

Alexis Sanchez 5.5
Minutes played70
Touches49
Passes36
Pass Accuracy78%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Fouls Won2
Successful Dribbles0
Key Passes1
Turnovers2

Arron says6.0

So Alexis really did play? The Chilean had a very quiet game on the right-hand side, was fairly wasteful with his passing and failed to hit the target with his single shot at goal. He needs to improve tonight (if he plays); otherwise he might just find that he loses his starting berth for good.

Lionel Messi 7.9
Minutes played90
Touches82
Passes58
Pass Accuracy76%
Shots/Shots on Target5/2
Fouls Won4
Successful Dribbles4
Key Passes2
Turnovers7

Arron says8.0

Messi didn’t score on Saturday, but his two assists helped seal the victory and his mere presence on the field created space for his teammates. David Villa used that extra space to great effect, and so did Cesc Fàbregas. Sure, many expected Leo to get a goal, but what’s important is that someone else did – a massive improvement upon last season.

Pedro Rodriguez 6.7
Minutes played90
Touches54
Passes39
Pass Accuracy90%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Fouls Won1
Key Passes1
Turnovers1

Arron says7.0

The Spaniard is without a goal since the opening day of the season, although in spite of that, he has been playing very well. It just goes to show that there is more to a player than goal statistics. Pedro didn’t have many touches of the ball, nor did he have many shots on goal, but he does get an assist for his pass to Cesc Fàbregas.

Cristian Tello 6.2
Minutes played20
Touches19
Passes13
Pass Accuracy92%

Arron saysN/A

Tello replaced Alexis Sanchez with 20 minutes remaining and didn’t get the opportunity to do anything of note in his time on the field.

Thiago Alcantara 5.8
Minutes played15
Touches28
Passes22
Pass Accuracy86%

Arron saysN/A

Thiago replaced Sergio Busquets with 15 minutes left to play and had a memorable game, contributing in the build-up to the winning goal, but tragedy struck as Thiago also injured his MCL in his short time on the pitch. Further tests revealed the extent of the injury; Thiago will not play again for a couple of months.

David Villa 7.8
Minutes played11
Touches7
Passes3
Pass Accuracy67%
Shots/Shots on Target1/1

Arron says8.5

What can we say about El Guaje? He took the field with 11 minutes left to play, and scored the winning goal with his only shot.

The Team 7.6
Passes703
Pass Accuracy88%
Shots/Shots on Target15/7
Tackles19
Aerial Battles Won53%
Fouls Won/Committed15/3

Arron says7.5

Going 2-0 down is far from ideal, but at least they responded to win the three points. The defense remains shaky, although that's not going to change overnight, while the attack continues to over-power all in their way. Another couple of late goals, Barcelona's possession style really does pay dividends in the closing stages.

Tito Vilanova 7.8

Arron says8.5

Once again, Tito made the right changes, at the right time and they managed to turn the game around. That's all that needs to be said!

MOTM - Cesc 68%

Arron saysCesc

As expected, Cesc claimed the MOTM award for his two-goal haul which ultimately kept Barclona in the game and gave them the platform needed to go on and win it.

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