La Liga: FC Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad: Player Ratings

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 19: David Villa of FC Barcelona (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team's fifth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Camp Nou on August 19, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Is there a better way to start the season? Real Madrid dropped points against Valencia, at the Bernabeu no less, and in response, Barcelona put five past Real Sociedad. As opening days go, this was pretty good from a Barca perspective. The season ahead is going to be tough, but even at this early stage, a two-point differential could make all the difference. But it wasn't just the results, it was also the performances.

Real looked sluggish, predictable, and at worst, they looked toothless against Valencia and their new coach Mauricio Pellegrino. All that despite Gonzalo Higuain's early goal - are Mourinho's men merely slow starters, or is this a sign of things to come? It's too early to make predictions with regards to the title, but one thing is for certain - Tito Vilanova must be relishing Thursday's clash in the Supercopa.

Ratings for the Real Sociedad match are after the jump:

Victor Valdes 6.8
Minutes played90
Touches24
Passes12
Pass Accuracy75%
Shots Faced2
Saves Made1

Arron says7.0

Victor Valdés had a quiet game last night, and although Real Sociedad only managed the two shots on target, the Catalan couldn’t make it four successive league openers without conceding a goal. That being said, no-one would have expected Valdés to save Chori Castro’s thumping shot and while no keeper likes to be beaten at his near-post, the blame for the goal falls on Dani Alves and his positioning.

Dani Alves 6.7
Minutes played90
Touches90
Passes73
Pass Accuracy93%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles1
Interceptions0
Turnovers1
Key Passes1
Shots Blocked1

Arron says7.0

Moving onto the Brazilian, Alves had a mixed game at full-back; aside from the error for the goal, he did very little wrong. Maybe we can chalk it down to a bit of rustiness on his part, it is the start of the season after all, but with Cristiano Ronaldo coming to town in a few days Alves cannot afford to repeat his mistake. Otherwise, his accurate passing was the highlight in what was a very sensible performance.

Javier Mascherano 7.3
Minutes played90
Touches66
Passes58
Pass Accuracy90%
Tackles1
Interceptions1
Clearances5

Arron says7.0

With Carles Puyol his usual self, and with Gerard Piqué experiencing something of a return to form, Javier Mascherano is facing a fight to keep his first-team place; a fight which at the moment, he appears to be losing. That’s not to say that Masch is playing badly, far from it, he gave a solid performance in the heart of defense last night, but what does he really offer as an undisputed starter? Puyol leads by example and his mere presence lifts the team, while Geri brings us elegance and aerial presence – when he’s on form anyway. Undoubtedly he will continue to feature in a large number of games, but at current, I don’t expect Mascherano to start in the truly "big" matches.

Carles Puyol 8.0
Minutes played51
Touches54
Passes44
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Tackles2
Interceptions0
Clearances5

Arron says8.0

Yet another virtuoso performance from El Capitan, he took his goal fabulously at one end, and for the most part, marshalled an impenetrable defense at the other. Puyol kept it simple when he could, but also wasn’t afraid of playing some no-nonsense football, co-leading the team in clearances despite only playing 51 minutes.

Jordi Alba 7.5
Minutes played90
Touches88
Passes69
Pass Accuracy94%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles3
Interceptions2
Key Passes1
Turnovers2

Arron says8.0

It’s worth mentioning that this was Jordi Alba’s league debut for Barcelona, yet he looked as though he had been there all his life. He combined brilliantly with Cristian Tello, Andrés Iniesta and David Villa, and despite having less touches than Dani Alves, he was certainly the better player (on the night). We all knew Alba had pace, but nothing could prepare us for what we saw yesterday as he managed to somehow overlap Tello, who is far from slow himself. What I enjoy most about his play is that unlike Alves, he appears to think out his crosses, with the perfect example being his cut-back to Lionel Messi on the edge of the area. While the Argentine couldn’t apply the finish, the pass was utterly perfect. At €13 million, he might just be the bargain buy of the summer.

Sergio Busquets 7.0
Minutes played90
Touches114
Passes109
Pass Accuracy91%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles0
Interceptions1
Clearances2
Turnovers1

Arron says6.5

An uncharacteristically quiet game for Sergio Busquets, who appeared to be a little off the pace in the centre of the park. Despite that, Busi had the second-highest number of touches and completed the second-highest number of passes, although one could argue that with Xavi, Alba, Messi etc all performing so well, Busquets didn’t have to have a spectacular game.

Cesc Fàbregas 7.2
Minutes played58
Touches65
Passes62
Pass Accuracy89%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Fouls Won1
Turnovers2
Key Passes1

Arron says7.0

After starting so well last season, how well would Cesc Fàbregas play, especially after playing the entire 90 minutes in Spain’s midweek friendly with Puerto Rico? Well, as it turns out, Cesc put in a good shift in midfield before being replaced by Andrés Iniesta with over half-an-hour left to play. His lofted through balls are a delight to watch, and while he looked a little sluggish at times, he kept up with Messi to create the Argentine a good chance for his hat-trick.

Xavi Hernández 7.9
Minutes played90
Touches127
Passes122
Pass Accuracy98%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Fouls Won1
Turnovers0
Key Passes2
Accurate Long Balls/Long Balls10/10

Arron says9.0

The stats say it all – Xavi Hernández is a monster. Achieving 98% pass accuracy is difficult at the best of times, but when you are also attempting over 100 passes, it becomes virtually impossible. Unless you’re Xavi. Just look at the numbers on the right – all 10 of his attempted long-passes found their target, including his fourth minute corner which was headed in by Carles Puyol. If I were Sami Khedira, or whoever Jose Mourinho has in mind as midfield destroyer, I would just give up now and save myself the effort – Xavi was simply unplayable.

Pedro Rodriguez 7.9
Minutes played75
Touches56
Passes41
Pass Accuracy95%
Shots/Shots on Target2/2
Fouls Won1
Successful Dribbles2
Key Passes2
Turnovers2

Arron says8.5

In amidst all the happiness for David Villa, it’s been easy to forget about Pedro’s apparent return to form. Registering a goal and assist, Pedro had a productive game, but more importantly, he operated with an incredible precision, completing 95% of his passes and placing both his shots on target. Alexis might just be the first-choice at the moment, but with Villa still a little way off optimum match fitness, the Chilean may have to settle for a place on the left rather than waltz back into his right-wing berth.

Lionel Messi 9.1
Minutes played90
Touches95
Passes78
Pass Accuracy90%
Shots/Shots on Target8/4
Fouls Won2
Successful Dribbles2
Key Passes1
Turnovers1

Arron says9.0

For a brief moment, the game could have gone either way. Real Sociedad had just equalised and Barcelona could have lost a little bit of faith. Then Messi announced his arrival. Two goals in five minutes propelled the Blaugrana into a 3-1 lead, and from that point onwards, the match was effectively over as a contest. Dangerous with every single touch of the ball, Messi picked up exactly where he left off last season and has now scored 11 goals in his last five league appearances. Can he reach 100 goals this season? After this performance, it’s certainly possible.

Cristian Tello 8.2
Minutes played90
Touches52
Passes43
Pass Accuracy81%
Shots/Shots on Target1/0
Fouls Won0
Successful Dribbles3
Key Passes4
Turnovers0

Arron says9.0

I take it all back Tello, you are nothing like Bojan! After a bi-polar end to last season, and a patchy pre-season, Tello was a surprise start last night, although by the final whistle, we were wondering just how we have lived without him. Speedy, agile, creative; Tello had it all laying on two goals for his teammates and if it wasn’t for some frantic last-ditch defending from the Sociedad defense he could have contributed even more. On a side-note, just imagine how good the B team could be with a Deulofeu-Dongou-Tello frontline...

Gerard Piqué 7.3
Minutes played39
Touches38
Passes32
Pass Accuracy91%
Key Passes2
Tackles2
Interceptions1

Arron says7.5

Piqué replaced Puyol with 39 minutes left to play and put in an excellent cameo performance. As usual, his passing was brilliant and in the past few months, he appears to have remembered how to defend as well. Forget Alex Song, Piqué’s return to form will be the "signing" we so desperately needed.

Andrés Iniesta 7.8
Minutes played32
Touches46
Passes38
Pass Accuracy100%
Key Passes2
Shots/Shots on Target1/1
Fouls Won2
Turnovers2

Arron says7.5

Replacing Cesc Fàbregas with a little over 30 minutes remaining, Iniesta instantly made an impact, setting up David Villa’s goal in the 84th minute. Fresh off his Best Player Award at the summer’s European Championship, Iniesta looked sublime in his short time on the field and will undoubtedly play a huge part in the season ahead.

David Villa 8.6
Minutes played15
Touches20
Passes17
Pass Accuracy88%
Shots/Shots on Target1/1
Fouls Won1
Turnovers2

Arron says8.0

El Guaje is back! All it took was a 15 minute cameo for Villa to find the back of the net, which is slightly ironic given his form prior to injury. Buoyed by the ovation from the home crowd, Villa looked sharp in his time in attack, while his first-time finish was simply magnificent. Welcome back David!

The Team 8.8
Passes825
Pass Accuracy92%
Shots/Shots on Target18/10
Tackles13
Aerial Battles Won71%
Fouls Won/Committed12/9

Arron says9.0

After Tito Vilanova’s claims in the pre-match press conference, one could be forgiven for thinking that Barcelona were going to start slowly. Pre-season performances didn’t exactly impress, but from the moment the game started, you could tell Barcelona were ready – ready to win back their title. Real Madrid had drew, somewhat fortuitously as well, but there were no slip-ups at the Camp Nou. The team started well, and with a combination of sheer pace and numbers, they overwhelmed the Sociedad defense to register the first Manita of the season.

Tito Vilanova 8.7

Arron says8.5

Tito insists that he doesn’t feel the pressure of replacing Pep, and maybe this is why. He got his tactics spot on with his first big gamble (Tello) paying off majestically. Clearly, he wants the team to attack with speed, and as mentioned, they simply overwhelmed the Sociedad defense. Only then, once the two-goal lead had been established did Barcelona settle into their usual style of play. If things continue in this vein, I have a feeling Tito will do alright!

MOTM - Messi 64%

Arron saysMessi

As it turns out, Messi scored the winner in the 11th minute, but more than that, he calmed the nerves before ensuring victory with his strike on 16 minutes. Messi was excellent, and with 50 goals as the target, can Messi break the La Liga record for goals in a season?

Follow Barca Blaugranes on your preferred social network:

Follow me on:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Barca Blaugranes

You must be a member of Barca Blaugranes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Barca Blaugranes. You should read them.

Join Barca Blaugranes

You must be a member of Barca Blaugranes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Barca Blaugranes. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker