La Liga: FC Barcelona 1-0 RCD Espanyol: Player Ratings

David Ramos

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's narrow 1-0 win over RCD Espanyol

Victor Valdés 7.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 23
Passes: 11
Pass Accuracy: 73%
Shots Faced: 2
Saves Made: 2

Bostjan says: 7.5

Once again Valdes keep his net untarnished, this time making two saves. Both were made in a five minute span near the half hour mark of the first half. The first was relatively routine, but the second was excellent. Victor Sanchez outworked Alves to the loose ball even though the Brazilian was initially well positioned to shield the former La Masia product. Valdes remained alert throughout the sequence and made a strong foot save on what could've been a game changer. Apart from that VV had a quiet game.

Dani Alves 6.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 123
Passes: 82
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Key Passes: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 0
Turnovers: 2
Fouls Won: 2

Bostjan says: 6.0

Dani Alves continues to frustrate fans with inconsistency this year. At times he can be brilliant, like the one-two he played that led to a long range shot by the Brazilian that struck the post. But just seconds later he can't send a simple cross into the box, even though there is nobody covering him. Officially he connected with three crosses (out of 10), but two of those were collected near the left byline that Neymar saved from going out of play. But the biggest mistake the Brazilian made in the game came in the 35th minute when he gifted Espanyol a golden scoring opportunity.

Gerard Pique 7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 79
Passes: 56
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 10
Aerial Duels Won: 8

Bostjan says: 8.0

Pique had one of his best games of the season. He was making plays all over the pitch, even getting involved on the attack, creating a good scoring chance with Alexis. Pique was near the top in just about every defensive category, even leading the team, by a large margin, in clearances. He was positionally very sound, though he did venture out of position on a few occasions. Pique's distribution was excellent all game long as me misplaced just three short passes.

Javier Mascherano 6.7
Minutes played: 89
Touches: 72
Passes: 54
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 5
Clearances: 5
Aerial Duels Won: 1

Bostjan says: 7.0

Mascherano struggled a little bit against Espanyol, especially when he was pressured by Sergio Garcia. He came close to allowing a couple one-on-one's, but was able to recover with either a tackle or a pass to clear the danger every time. Because of that he a couple times heaved the ball out of Barcelona's half even though he had better, shorter options available. Mascherano made a trio of textbook sliding tackles, but he did make a poor tackle late in the game that earned him a yellow card. The Argentine was subbed off in the dying minutes of the game.

Martin Montoya 6.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 103
Passes: 69
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Tackles: 5
Interceptions: 5
Fouls Won: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Bostjan says: 8.0

Making his first start of the year in a position he's not very familiar with, left-back, Montoya impressed. He excelled defensively, recovering eight ball, leading the team with five tackles, and even blocking a couple shots. Montoya was even making plays on the right flank, that's how involved defensively he was. As a result of that defensive involvement he wasn't seen much in attack, however, when he did venture forward he offered a good passing option to Neymar. The young full-back didn't overlap much with Neymar, like Adriano Correia and Jordi Alba do, but that was probably by design.

Sergio Busquets 6.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 115
Passes: 100
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 4
Key Passes: 1
Fouls Won: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Turnovers: 4

Sam says: 7.0

Another solid game for Busquets. Often hid behind the headline grabbers, Busquets quietly gets on with his job of stopping Espanyol attacks and converting them into Barcelona attacks as quickly as possible. Intercepting three times and converting 90% of passes would be the highlight statistics for Busquets. Would be nice to see the midfielder breaking forward occasionally but his defensive discipline is what makes him a great player.

Xavi 6.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 134
Passes: 116
Pass Accuracy: 95%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/0
Turnovers:1
Key Passes: 0
Fouls Won: 2

Sam says: 7.0

Playing deeper than his counterpart Iniesta, Xavi played his familiar role of "quarterback" and with a passing success rate of 95%, you’d have to say Xavi had a good game. Often playing the pass before the final pass, Xavi was one of the main men when it came to starting the attacks. He did show an attacking side though and was even seen challenging for a header in Espanyol’s box, a rarity for 5ft 7 midfielder. Xavi can be happy with his efforts tonight as it was the men ahead of him that lacked something.

Andres Iniesta 7.6
Minutes played: 86
Touches: 69
Passes: 52
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 3
Key Passes: 2
Successful Dribbles: 1

Sam says: 7.5

Iniesta showed promising signs of his world class form that we’ve become used to, especially at the start of the second half. But as we’ve seen before when Barcelona face a tough defence players such as Iniesta can sometimes struggle to really make an impact. Nevertheless Iniesta seemed to have found his shooting boots and saw his powerful shot saved by the keeper in the first half. While his passing remained impeccably high as usual. A good performance from Iniesta that showed signs of him returning to his best form.

Alexis Sánchez 7.7
Minutes played: 83
Touches: 50
Passes: 33
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/2
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 2
Turnovers: 2

Arron says: 8.0

In the right place at the right time, Alexis Sánchez’ out-stretched leg gifted Barcelona the win on Friday, as the Chilean slid to reach Neymar’s superb cross to finally break the deadlock at the Camp Nou. It was his seventh La Liga goal of the season – leaving him just one shy of Lionel Messi – in what was another great performance from the former Udinese forward.

Lionel Messi 6.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 74
Passes: 51
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Shots/Shots on Target: 5/1
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 4
Key Passes: 1
Turnovers: 2

Arron says: 7.0

Another game, but still no goals for Lionel Messi, who was routinely covered by three or even four Espanyol players. Without an inch of space to work with, Messi couldn’t weave his usual magic and saw a number of shots blocked, but unlike previous seasons, Barcelona were still able to secure the win "without" the Argentine.

Neymar 8.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 78
Passes: 50
Pass Accuracy: 86%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Fouls Won: 2
Key Passes: 4
Successful Dribbles: 6
Turnovers: 6

Arron says: 8.0

Creator of the all-important winning goal, Neymar's contribution on Friday night was decisive and the mere nature of the assist enabled Neymar to continue to prove the doubters wrong.

Pedro 6.4
Minutes played: 7
Touches: 4
Passes: 3
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1

Arron says: N/A

A late replacement, Pedro didn't do enough to warrant a full rating.

Cesc Fàbregas 6.7
Minutes played: 4
Touches: 13
Passes: 10
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Key Passes: 2

Arron says: 7.0

Barely on the pitch for five minutes, Fabregas still find the time to play a couple of key passes.

Marc Bartra 7.1
Minutes played: 1
Touches: 1
Passes: 1
Pass Accuracy: 100%

Arron says: N/A

One minute, one touch, one pass; not enough for a rating from me.

The Team 6.7
Passes: 732
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 19/5
Tackles: 21
Aerial Battles Won: 59%
Fouls Won/Committed: 7/19

Arron says: 6.5

A win is a win, but fans are right to have concerns about the quality of the performance. It could have been much better -- although it could have been much worse, and ultimately, you don't get any extra points for style anyway.

Gerardo Martino 6.9

Arron says: 7.0

Another three points moves Martino closer to equalling the record-breaking pace set by Tito Vilanova in the first-half of last season.

MOTM - Neymar 58%

Arron says: Pique

Once again, Neymar claimed the Man of the Match award on Friday with 58% of the vote, eclipsing Alexis Sanchez (20%) and Lionel Messi (8%).

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