La Liga: Osasuna 1-2 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

Tito was sent off last night, and we have to wait until Wednesday to find out whether or not our appeal against his two-match ban has been successful

Hands up if you dreamed Barcelona could make such a dominant start to life under Tito Vilanova. Keep them raised if you also thought that Real Madrid would be without a win, three games into this season. Exactly as I thought, there is not a single hand in the sky, as who on earth could have possibly predicted that Barcelona would have a five-point lead over their arch-rivals, just two matches into the new La Liga season? On Wednesday night, Barcelona have the opportunity to make it four wins from four under Tito Vilanova and consign Los Blancos to their fourth match without a win – for the first time since May 2009.

On paper, Barcelona appear to be the favourites, but a distinct improvement is required from Sunday’s performance. Osasuna bullied the Blaugrana, and if the action zones are anything to go by, they might just have put up the best (losing) effort of any team facing Barcelona in recent seasons. Dominant in the air and on the pitch (Osasuna registered 29 tackles to Barcelona’s 18), Osasuna can count themselves unlucky not to leave with at least a point, and while the Catalans put them bottom, it’s only a matter of time before they register their first points of the season.

Ratings for the match are after the jump:

Victor Valdes 6.3
Minutes played90
Touches40
Passes19
Pass Accuracy42%
Shots Faced5
Saves Made4

Arron says8.0

Much better from Victor Valdés, who not only went the whole game without making an error, but he also displayed the form that made him a key man in three of the club’s four UEFA Champions League triumphs. Making save after save in the Blaugrana goal, Valdés bizarrely had more to do in this game than he did in the midweek Clasico. My particular highlight wasn’t a save, but it did deny a goal as Valdés rushed from goal to narrow down the angle against Nino who proceeded to hit the post rather than the back of the net. The accuracy of his passing is a cause for concern though.

Dani Alves 6.6
Minutes played90
Touches104
Passes64
Pass Accuracy70%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Tackles8
Interceptions2
Turnovers5
Key Passes1

Arron says6.5

Dani Alves might have had a quiet game offensively, but his defensive contribution was crucial, especially with Carles Puyol struggling at centre-half. The Brazilian made eight of Barcelona’s eighteen tackles (that’s 44%) and still found time to make the most touches of anyone on the field. I can’t escape the feeling that Alves feels "limited" when he starts alongside Jordi Alba, but given a little more time to adjust to each other’s style of play, they look set to build a formidable partnership at full-back. He loses half a point for his five turnovers.

Carles Puyol 6.2
Minutes played90
Touches58
Passes41
Pass Accuracy85%
Tackles0
Interceptions0
Clearances12

Arron says6.0

An unusually shaky performance from El Capitan who ended the match with a broken cheekbone, although it might take more than that to sideline Puyol again. After spending so long out recovering from knee surgery, this was Puyol’s first match away from the Camp Nou, not to mention his first poor performance in what feels like an age. Whether he was getting used to starting alongside Gerard Piqué again (it was the paring’s first match starting together since the 2-2 draw with AC Milan back at the start of April – excluding the second-leg with Chelsea in which Piqué was subbed off with concussion) or whether it was just a blip, expect Puyol to get back to his best in the coming matches.

Gerard Pique 6.8
Minutes played90
Touches76
Passes62
Pass Accuracy85%
Tackles0
Interceptions1
Clearances6

Arron says6.5

It was arguably Piqué’s worst performance of the season, but even then he still looked to be the Blaugrana’s best defender. Unfairly some have singled out Piqué as being at fault for the matches opening goal, when it was actually Alba’s responsibility to at least close in on Llorente when the Basque forward lost his man at the far post. Other than that, Piqué was one of the game’s more accurate passers and was on hand to clear the lines on more than one occasion.

Jordi Alba 6.8
Minutes played90
Touches76
Passes53
Pass Accuracy81%
Tackles2
Interceptions2
Key Passes1
Turnovers1

Arron says6.5

A mixed performance from our summer signing, Alba was at fault for Osasuna’s goal, but then redeemed himself by providing the all-important assist for Lionel Messi’s winner. Has Alba done enough to earn himself a start against Real Madrid on Wednesday? Well, in yesterday’s poll we asked that very question, and with 65% of the vote, it appears as though Alba is the community’s favourite to start tomorrow.

Sergio Busquets 6.0
Minutes played90
Touches77
Passes69
Pass Accuracy81%
Tackles1
Interceptions1
Clearances4
Turnovers1

Arron says6.5

After a less than impressive showing in the league opener, Sergio Busquets dominated the midfield in Thursday’s Clasico, but he put in another sub-par performance on Sunday. Knowing Busi, his 81% passing accuracy could well be the lowest of his career, but he will almost certainly bounce back tomorrow.

Cesc Fàbregas 5.7
Minutes played63
Touches72
Passes60
Pass Accuracy85%
Shots/Shots on Target0/0
Fouls Won2
Turnovers2
Key Passes1

Arron says6.0

Cesc started last season so well, before fading as the season dragged on. This season, he has started slowly; does this mean that he will end the season in superb form? If only football worked that way, as when he is playing well, Cesc is arguably one of the best midfielders in the game and that is what hinders him in games like these. He didn’t necessarily play badly, but we all know and expect him to do better. Until he does, he may find himself sitting out the more important matches, possibly starting with tomorrow’s Clasico.

Andrés Iniesta 6.4
Minutes played90
Touches65
Passes45
Pass Accuracy84%
Shots/Shots on Target4/1
Fouls Won1
Turnovers5
Key Passes3

Arron says6.5

Continuing on the theme of under-performing Barca players, it was a tough game for Andrés Iniesta too as the usually exceptional midfielder struggled to impose himself against a solid Osasuna defense. Maybe we can chalk this one up to early season fatigue after a difficult midweek clash with Real Madrid, but there wasn’t something quite right with Iniesta.

Alexis Sanchez 6.3
Minutes played90
Touches66
Passes45
Pass Accuracy78%
Shots/Shots on Target2/2
Fouls Won2
Successful Dribbles1
Key Passes3
Turnovers5

Arron says6.5

Another game without a goal for Alexis Sanchez who has only scored three times (in competitive fixtures) since the middle of February. The Chilean works hard for the team, and did get an assist to his name by setting up Messi’s equaliser, but at the end of the day, Alexis was signed to score goals – something he is not doing. Already there is (horrendously inaccurate) talk of a dependency on Lionel Messi, but more worryingly for Alexis Sanchez, there is talk that the Chilean is one step away from losing his starting position.

Lionel Messi 8.3
Minutes played90
Touches69
Passes46
Pass Accuracy89%
Shots/Shots on Target7/6
Fouls Won2
Successful Dribbles4
Key Passes2
Turnovers6

Arron says8.5

Still on course for 76 La Liga goals, Lionel Messi helped himself to a brace on Sunday, much to the relief of Barcelona fans everywhere. Just when it looked as though all hope was lost, Messi equalised with a real poacher’s effort on 76 minutes before curling home the winner with less than 10 minutes left to play – all that in a game where Messi didn’t even excel. Leo loves going to the Bernabeu and it will be interesting to watch whether or not he can grab a goal from open play after five Clasicos without one.

Cristian Tello 6.5
Minutes played75
Touches28
Passes23
Pass Accuracy57%
Shots/Shots on Target2/1
Fouls Won0
Successful Dribbles0
Key Passes1
Turnovers2

Arron says6.5

Tello started strongly, but faded fast on the left-wing, barely touching the ball in his half-an-hour on the field in the second half. The young winger was arguably the Blaugrana’s best player in the first half, hitting the post with one shot and forcing a good save with his other effort, but really didn’t see enough of the ball to provide a constant threat.

Pedro Rodriguez 7.5
Minutes played27
Touches18
Passes14
Pass Accuracy86%
Key Passes0
Successful Dribbles3

Arron says7.5

Pedro replaced Cesc Fàbregas with 27 minutes left to play and changed the dynamic of the game, playing a huge part in the equaliser. It appeared as though the chance had gone when Alexis fed him the ball, but a turn of pace got him away from the challenge of a Osasuna defender, and while it wasn’t his cross that Messi turned in, it was pivotal moment nonetheless.

Xavi Hernández 7.5
Minutes played20
Touches24
Passes22
Pass Accuracy100%

Arron says7.5

Similar to Pedro, when Xavi took the field he changed the game for the better – even if he only played 20 minutes. 100% pass accuracy while his teammates misplaced one in every five attempted passes (on average), Xavi was a calming influence and helped the Blaugrana finally mount a period of sustained pressure on the Osasuna goal.

David Villa 6.9
Minutes played15
Touches11
Passes10
Pass Accuracy90%

Arron saysN/A

After scoring in his 15 minute cameo last week, David Villa didn’t touch the ball enough this week to merit a rating. He play a part in the second goal though.

The Team 6.8
Passes607
Pass Accuracy80%
Shots/Shots on Target15/10
Tackles18
Aerial Battles Won23%
Fouls Won/Committed17/11

Arron says6.5

A poor performance, but one that still led to three points, and if we go by results, an improvement on last season. Barcelona didn’t necessarily look complacent, but they weren’t entirely focused either, perhaps the humidity (and the Clasico) are to blame. Osasuna did well to restrict Barcelona’s time on the ball, but even when pressured the Catalans are usually far better with possession. That being said, this performance did win three points so I guess we should stop complaining.

Tito Vilanova 7.3

Arron says8.0

Tito Vilanova was faced with some tough decisions to make in Sunday’s game, but he made the right one in bringing on Pedro and Xavi and in the end, it was his substitutions that saved the three points and kept his 100 record intact. In contrast, Pep Guardiola only claimed his first league win in Jornada Three. Make of that what you will...

MOTM - Messi 78%

Arron saysMessi

When you score two goals in a game, and those two goals are the difference between victory and defeat, you are going to win MOTM. With 78% of the vote, it's no surprise that Messi makes it two from two in La Liga this season. Watch out Valencia.

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