La Liga: FC Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid: Player Ratings

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF shake hands prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on April 21, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Real Madrid CF won 1-2. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Well it had to happen sooner or later even though it’s painful to swallow; we lost a Liga Clasico for the first time in I don’t know how long. I agree they played better on the night, but they are still not the better team, not even close. Our coach over thought this fixture and a couple of players were not at their best among other things. Kudos to them though; as they had a game-plan and they stuck to it. We are taking the loss like men and we have ourselves to blame for it.

There is no time to sit down and point fingers though, a Champions League spot in the final is at stake as we speak; Chelsea is coming to the very same venue with a goal in their bus. The team will need to go back to winning ways and the defense will need to be as impenetrable as possible. A loss might be luck, two in a row might be a fluke but three has to be one too much; we have to beat Chelsea, our reputation is at stake.

The ratings are after the jump:

Victor Valdes 3.4
Minutes played90
Touches34
Passes17
Pass Accuracy73%
Shots Faced6
Saves Made4

Guidance says5.0

He made a couple of great saves, I noted three actually; but he squandered the two that mattered. He dropped the ball during a corner kick that was resulted in the first goal and he should probably have done better for that second goal. If only we had a time machine, right?

Dani Alves 5.5
Minutes played90
Touches66
Passes41
Pass Accuracy83%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles4
Interceptions2
Was Fouled6
Turnovers4

Guidance says5.5

I can’t tell you what his job was in this game, nothing he did seemed to make sense. I didn’t note a single great defensive move from him, if you are going to argue that he was attacking do you think you can point out his great attacking move? OK his attempt after he was clean on goal on the 7th min was probably worth something but Casillas was up to it. He did put an offside ball (Tello) into the net for a virtual lead on the 13th min but I’m not even sure that’s worthy of filling this column. By the way why were all his dozen crosses blocked?

Javier Mascherano 5.6
Minutes played90
Touches87
Passes75
Pass Accuracy83%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Tackles1
Interceptions2
Clearances2
Shots Blocked0

Guidance says7.0

The team was not great but Mascherano was his usual self. He won the ball three times as the last man and two of those were his usual brilliant tackles. He made interceptions both in midfield and defense and he was probably frustrated on the 84th min when he unleashed a thunderous strike high over the bar on the 84th minute. He was booked on the 84th min for a late tackle on Ronaldo, and of course he was the last man there as well.

Carles Puyol 5.5
Minutes played90
Touches60
Passes40
Pass Accuracy85%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles3
Interceptions2
Clearances2
Turnovers3

Guidance says7.0

The team has a lot of skilled athletes and intelligent individuals, but then it also has Puyol. It showed that he wanted to win the tie badly, but it’s the painful reality that you can’t do it alone, not in this day and age. His attempt at damage control after Valdes dropped the ball was a failed mission as he was not fast enough to clear the ball, or was he trying to shield it until his keeper could safely collect it? Taking that as an isolated incident, all his defensive moves were on par with the best from the onwards and considering the number of chances that the team allowed the opposition, he did a great job.

Adriano Correia 5.1
Minutes played74
Touches77
Passes55
Pass Accuracy89%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Tackles1
Interceptions6
Clearances2
Turnovers2

Guidance says5.0

Man wasn’t he anonymous? He was no where to be found, always in the wrong place at the wrong time; In attack when he should be defending and vice versa, you need good timing to be able to achieve such a task. Where was he at "left-back" when Ozil made that pass for the winning goal?

Sergio Busquets 5.4
Minutes played90
Touches109
Passes98
Pass Accuracy91%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles2
Interceptions2
Key Passes0
Turnovers1

Guidance says6.5

Half the time he was forced to play center-back as both full-backs left their posts to embark on unsuccessful attacking quests. He made some crucial tackles but almost all the people he distributed the ball to seemed to be a little (might be an under-statement) clueless at times. Same with Masch, he was booked for a late or mistimed tackle of Ronaldo.

Thiago Alcantara 5.1
Minutes played90
Touches131
Passes103
Pass Accuracy90%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Successful Dribbles4
Fouls Won3
Turnovers2
Tackles4
Interceptions4

Guidance says6.0

His performance deserved to be in a winning side, it was that good. Great passes, great tackles and great interceptions just to name a few. His decision making in the final third was worthy of an older lad than him and his long range attempt on goal was wide off Casillas’ goal on the 37th minute. Better luck next time; maybe next time might be two days too soon, you never know.

Xavi Hernandez 5.5
Minutes played69
Touches88
Passes79
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target2/0
Successful Dribbles1
Turnovers2
Key Passes2

Guidance says5.5

I honestly thought there was a whistle I didn’t hear and he was actually kicking the ball out of play for that sitter on the 27th min after that magical through ball from Messi that set him one-on-one with Iker. We had a chance to an early equalizer, a first half equalizer to be precise. His ball retention was at its usual best but how he used it left me surprised at best. Although his effort on the 69th min was just about a yard wide, the attempt was like he had already seen the substitution board and was just showing his disapproval or frustration or whatever you might have in mind. Sanchez replaced him.

Andres Iniesta 5.9
Minutes played90
Touches77
Passes65
Pass Accuracy78%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Fouls Won1
Successful Dribbles1
Key Passes2
Turnovers2

Guidance says5.5

It’s a very frustrating thing for a Cule when a man touches the ball in the final third like he did and can’t do anything positive; in fact you would be forgiven to think he was an amateur had it been your first time watching play. Just how many passes can a man squander? No ball that left his feet was helpful for the team in the final third, and I like to think I took my notes well. Long passes lobs and through balls went out for goal kick or were directly to an opposition player. His header went over the bar on the 11th min, his shot went wide on the 20th and his first touch or control let him down (after a Messi pass) on the 23rd.

Lionel Messi 5.4
Minutes played90
Touches74
Passes53
Pass Accuracy79%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Fouls Won3
Successful Dribbles8
Key Passes2
Turnovers5

Guidance says6.5

He was forced to drop deeper into midfield as he got no offensive support whenever he was at his dangerous position; The Madrid system did well to close the most important passing lanes, or maybe it was the team’s passing which was not that great? He was always dangerous with the ball and Xavi, Iniesta and Tello could all have scored from his through balls if it weren’t for poor finishing, poor control and poor first touch; all in that order. His free-kick was easily cleared on the 13th min and his shot was blocked on the 59th. He was offside on the 41st and 60th min and he made some wonderful diagonal balls which won’t go unnoticed.

Cristian Tello 3.8
Minutes played81
Touches39
Passes24
Pass Accuracy88%
Shots/Shots on Target4/1
Fouls Won1
Successful Dribbles0
Key Passes0
Turnovers1

Guidance says5.5

This game was a little bigger than him and his performance supports that. To his credit, he was always better positioned when he received the ball and he did some defensive work as well. He always seemed to attempt to play over the right-back’s shoulder with no success as the ball went out for a goal kick in all of his tries. It was a little frustrating on the 50th min as he took two powerful shots in a space of 5 min which both went wide of target. At least his attempt on goal on the 70th min resulted in a rebound that resulted in the equalizing goal, that’s gotta count for something right? He was substituted on the 81st min and Cesc was the man to replace him.

Alexis Sanchez 6.7
Minutes played21
Touches11
Passes6
Pass Accuracy67%
Shots/Shots on Target2/2

Guidance says6.5

He came in to replace Xavi on the 69th min and scored what was an equalizer at the time, the only goal for the Bluagrana, less than a minute later. He was not really involved in much after that but at least he earned us some respect with his goal. Imagine if we were to lose by two goals, the thought of that is uncomfortable.

Pedro Rodriguez 4.8
Minutes played16
Touches10
Passes6
Pass Accuracy67%
Key Passes1

Guidance saysN/A

Replaced Adriano on the 74 min but he was not involved enough to earn himself a complete rating.

Cesc Fabregas 4.6
Minutes played9
Touches10
Passes9
Pass Accuracy89%

Guidance saysN/A

He replaced Tello on the 81st min and couldn’t earn a complete rating as well.

The Team 4.5
Passes700
Pass Accuracy86%
Shots/Shots on Target14/3
Tackles19
Aerial Battles Won35%
Fouls Won/Committed20/11

Guidance says6.0

That was one horrible performance by the Bluagrana’s standards, especially for a home game. How can they claim to be attacking when they let the opposition form two defensive walls without sending a couple of their men in between; it becomes difficult to penetrate the defense and it’s asking a lot from Messi. The Game Plan was clear and straight forward but too many individuals squandered the few decent attacking moves we had.

Pep Guardiola 4.0

Guidance says6.5

The Coach got it wrong this time, by a huge margin. Tello shouldn’t have started in place for Pedro, with all the experience the latter have in Clasicos. He knows better than anyone that if there is one thing the capital club can do right it is counter attacking, but he gave both his fullbacks a license to attack, which meant Sergio had to play deeper than usual; he’s less effective down there, he’s best when he shields the defense, not when he’s part of it. I think he should have played it safe at the back with the traditional 4-3-3 until we got the leading goal or until in the second half when we might have needed a plan B. His changes were a little late as well; he probably should have changed something when we kicked off the second half.

FOTM - Valdes 29%

Guidance saysPuyol

The community voted for Valdes to proudly walk away with the Flop-Of-The-Match award and it’s hard to disagree, especially as he assisted the first goal of the game. Tello and Messi made a strong case as well in that order and that might be debatable; at least that’s what I think.

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