La Liga: Rayo Vallecano 0-7 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

MADRID, SPAIN - ABRIL 29: Assistant coach Tito Vilanova (L) of FC Barcelona leaves the pitch beside head coach Pepe Guardiola at the end of the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at Estadio Teresa Rivero on April 29, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Well, I’m glad that’s over. Three games without a victory seems like an eternity for most Culés, especially when you consider the results of the last four years, but it just goes to show just how spectacular Guardiola’s reign has been. Two losses – each by a single goal – and one draw combined to depress an entire fanbase. When you consider the mediocrity of the Gaspart era, or even the decline witnessed at the end of Rijkaard’s time with the club, three games without a win would have passed for usual form back then.

Regardless, Barcelona are back in business, and how! Thumping seven goals past poor little Rayo Vallecano at Vallecas, it has to rank up there with the best displays of the season, at least from a Blaugrana perspective. Despite the blip, despite the injury suffered by Gerard Pique and despite the plethora of changes that Pep opted to make, Barca absolutely slaughtered Rayo, and it’s worth remembering how Champions-elect Real Madrid needed that back-heel from Cristiano Ronaldo to secure victory against the same opposition...

Ratings after the jump:

Jose Manuel Pinto 7.1
Minutes played90
Touches41
Passes28
Pass Accuracy86%
Shots Faced4
Saves Made4

Arron says8.0

What game for our enigmatic veteran! Pinto rolled back the years to his Celta days with a number of acrobatic stops, and to top it all off he didn’t get into a single fight, nor did he engage in any other forms of unsporting behaviour. While his distribution may not be as good as Valdes, one has to wonder whether Pinto is the better shot-stopper at least after the past few games. It was great to see Pinto in goal ahead of the cup final, and even better that he kept a clean sheet. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t change him for the world!

Martin Montoya 6.9
Minutes played90
Touches84
Passes58
Pass Accuracy90%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles1
Interceptions2
Turnovers3

Arron says7.5

Montoya had a solid game, operating initially as a right-back and then at left-back after Alves was introduced into the fray. With rumours circulating that Dani could be on his way in the summer, this just goes to show that Barcelona’s future is bright – at right-back at least. One of the many theories doing the rounds involves Barcelona selling Alves, purchasing Jordi Alba and switching the focus of the attack from the right-flank to the left, but I for one think that after yesterday’s showing, the club might be able to leave Alba alone and covert Montoya into a full-time left-back. That’s my two cents anyway.

Javier Mascherano 7.2
Minutes played90
Touches91
Passes83
Pass Accuracy86%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles4
Interceptions0
Clearances1
Shots Blocked0

Arron says7.5

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m starting to see an awful lot of similarities between Cristiano Ronaldo circa 2009 and our beloved Masch. Both players excelled for ¾ of the season, dominating the opposition with ease, but when the going got tough (i.e. the big games like the UCL final for Ronaldo, and the Clasico/Chelsea matches for Masch) the two were susceptible to errors, or at least didn’t perform to their usual standards. Mascherano put in an excellent shift yesterday, but I hesitate to believe that he has displaced Gerard Pique just yet.

Carles Puyol 7.6
Minutes played90
Touches56
Passes43
Pass Accuracy86%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles1
Interceptions2
Clearances3
Turnovers0

Arron says7.5

I debated about whether to give him a ten for his decision to break up Thiago and Alves’ celebration alone, but decided against it when I thought about the stick I would have got! Another great display from the captain, who despite multiple injuries and the unavoidable problem with age remains one of the quickest guys on the field. it just goes to show that if you are focused enough, and have an unquenchable determination to succeed, you almost certainly will. His work-rate helped set up Pedro’s first goal while he had a quiet game in defense. What odds that we get to see Puyi lift yet another trophy in under a month’s time?

Adriano Correia 6.6
Minutes played60
Touches67
Passes53
Pass Accuracy85%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles0
Interceptions0
Clearances1
Turnovers2

Arron says7.0

It was a quiet game for the Brazilian, which some may hold against him, but usually the guy who goes about his business quietly is the one who gets it done well. I didn’t notice Adriano make any major error defensively, but there was the odd occasion where I wished he was a little more purposeful in attack. Otherwise, it was a decent showing.

Sergio Busquets 6.9
Minutes played73
Touches69
Passes58
Pass Accuracy91%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles0
Interceptions3
Key Passes1
Turnovers0

Arron says7.0

Much like for the majority of the defense, it wasn’t the most action packed Sergio will ever play, but it must have been satisfying after the past week’s events. Obviously it goes without saying that Busi’s distribution of the ball was superb and he didn’t put a foot wrong in defense either.

Thiago Alcantara 7.6
Minutes played90
Touches112
Passes93
Pass Accuracy89%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Successful Dribbles2
Fouls Won4
Turnovers4
Tackles2
Key Passes4

Arron says8.0

The more I see of Thiago, the more I am sure that he is set for big things with this club. In terms of passing, he is excellent – as you might expect from a La Masia graduate – maybe even bordering on Xavi-esque. When dribbling the ball, Thiago is a little reminiscent of an early Ronaldinho in terms of his power and flair while his heading ability is astonishingly good considering his background. Surprisingly, it was his 43rd appearance of the season in what is only his first full season with the first team.

Seydou Keita 7.4
Minutes played90
Touches86
Passes75
Pass Accuracy88%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Successful Dribbles1
Turnovers1
Key Passes1

Arron says7.5

And this is why Seydou shouldn’t play as pivote. Offensively, Keita isn’t the most technically gifted player around, but he offers variety from the usual tiki-taka, and I must say that his off the ball movement is exceptional. I wouldn’t expect Keita to start too often in the final few games, but equally I wouldn’t be disappointed if he did.

Alexis Sanchez 8.1
Minutes played80
Touches57
Passes39
Pass Accuracy87%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Fouls Won3
Successful Dribbles2
Key Passes2
Turnovers6

Arron says8.0

The Chilean has transformed from injury-prone impact player into fully-fledged starter all in the space of a few months with the club. His pressing is exceptional, very similar to the work-rate Pedro displayed and continues to display, maybe even similar to the pressure Eto’o exerted on opposition defenses. Much like Samuel, he is lightning fast and with time, he could become just as deadly in front of goal. All I know is that a triumvirate of Messi-Alexis-Pedro is god damn terrifying.

Lionel Messi 9.0
Minutes played90
Touches75
Passes50
Pass Accuracy94%
Shots/Shots on Target7/3
Fouls Won1
Successful Dribbles6
Key Passes3
Turnovers2

Arron says9.5

Sometimes I sit and watch Messi and just gaze at the screen in disbelief. This was one of those days. I could describe his 90 minutes again, but to put it briefly, he was utterly unplayable.

Pedro Rodriguez 8.3
Minutes played90
Touches52
Passes37
Pass Accuracy81%
Shots/Shots on Target4/3
Fouls Won1
Successful Dribbles0
Key Passes2
Turnovers4

Arron says8.5

Back to his best? Well, two goals and two assists are pretty good by my standards. On the other hand, I can’t help but ponder what would have happened if Pedro would have started either the Clasico or the match against Chelsea...While his first was a tap-in and his second wasn’t much further out, Pedro was in the right position on numerous occasions. Furthermore, Pedro at times seems like the only striker quick enough (both literally and mentally) to be able to combine with Lionel Messi. If this was Pedro fighting for his place, I think he won by first-round KO.

Dani Alves 7.0
Minutes played30
Touches29
Passes18
Pass Accuracy83%

Arron says7.0

Better from the Brazilian, but I think there’s a little way to go before he rediscovers his best form. his crossing was much better compared to recent showings, including his assist for Thiago’s header. While his celebration was a little distasteful given the scoreline, it was great to see him enjoying himself again.

Ibrahim Afellay 6.8
Minutes played17
Touches21
Passes18
Pass Accuracy100%

Arron says7.5

Considering this was his first game back for like forever, I thought Ibi did well. He slotted into a midfield role nigh-on seamlessly and even played a part in the last goal. Pretty productive day for the Dutchman.

Cristian Tello 6.4
Minutes played10
Touches7
Passes6
Pass Accuracy83%

Arron saysN/A

To be honest, he barely touched the ball. Certainly not enough for a full rating.

The Team 9.0
Passes688
Pass Accuracy88%
Shots/Shots on Target19/9
Tackles11
Aerial Battles Won38%
Fouls Won/Committed20/7

Arron says10.0

Seven goals scored off nine shots on target with zero goals conceded. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty perfect game for me.

Pep Guardiola 8.8

Arron says7.5

He responded well to the disappointment of midweek and his decision on Friday to make the changes; fortunately they all paid off. Starting Pinto in goal was inspired and will bode well for the CDR final, while the starts for Montoya, Thiago and Pedro were all great decisions. The only reason his rating isn’t higher is because it was only Rayo after all, and I’m not sure how much input Tito had.

MOTM - Messi 76%

Arron saysMessi

76%!?!?!??! The guy needs to give everyone else a chance :P

Honourable mentions to Pedro and Afellay for me, two top players with a bright future at the club, despite reports to the contrary.

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