La Liga: FC Barcelona 2-0 UD Almeria: Player Ratings

Denis Doyle

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's 2-0 La Liga win over UD Almeria

Victor Valdés 7.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 31
Passes: 17
Pass Accuracy: 59%
Shots Faced: 1
Saves Made: 1

Bostjan says: 7.0

Considering that Almería looked fairly dangerous when in attack Valdes had a very quiet game. He only had to make one save in the entire game, but he was kept on his toes as the hosts sent a fair amount of crosses into the penalty box that Valdes calmly collected or punched out of danger. His passing was less than satisfactory, and one of his poor passes put Busquets in a bad spot and almost resulted in an injury to the defensive midfielder. But he did pick up his third clean sheet in the last four games so Victor must be doing something right commanding this back-line.

Dani Alves 6.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 112
Passes: 74
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Key Passes: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Tackles: 6
Interceptions: 2
Turnovers: 2
Fouls Won: 2

Bostjan says: 7.0

Dani had a surprisingly quiet game. If not on defense we become used to him having a large impact at least on offense in every game. But against Almería, save for a last minute shot on goal that was saved, he didn't do much in attack. Alves did, however, manage to miss Alexis, who was wide open on the far post, with a cross so there was at least some consistency in attack from the Brazilian. Defensively Alves was very responsible in this game, even leading his team with six tackles. 

Gerard Pique 6.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 95
Passes: 86
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 3

Bostjan says: 7.0

Pique played this game in a position largely unfamiliar to him – as the deepest defender – a position reserved for Javier Mascherano or Carles Puyol. Pique fared pretty well there – at first. He recovered the ball several times and made a few tackles before he lost his concentration toward the end of the half and missed badly on an attempted tackles on Aleix Vidal in the penalty box as well as strayed out of position to allow Rodri a shot on goal five minutes later. Pique was solid in the second half and showed again that he can read the play very well. He helped out his teammate Adriano throughout the game as the Brazilian was a couple times caught up the pitch.

Marc Bartra 7.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 99
Passes: 75
Pass Accuracy: 95%
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 3
Clearances: 12
Aerial Duels Won: 2

Bostjan says: 8.0

Bartra had to wait a long time to get his first start of the season but he showed no rust whatsoever. In fact he was the team's best defender. Bartra started the game strong, making a couple good defensive plays which boosted his confidence – a must for a young defender. In my opinion, his best defensive play came in the 40th minute when he was first beaten cleanly by Vidal, but Bartra tracked back and picked Vidal's pocket in the penalty box. Playing in Pique's usual play-making center-back spot Bartra was often found deep in Almería's territory, even making a Messi-like run that was one play short of being a goal of the year candidate. In all it was a very promising performance by the young man who will get plenty of playing time this season if he plays like he did in this one.

Adriano Correia 7.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 84
Passes: 54
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 5
Fouls Won: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/1

Bostjan says: 7.5

Adriano put in a solid performance that he capped off with a goal. He was all over the left side of the pitch, more in attack than in defense, but apart from a few instances he returned in time to help stop Almería's attacks. At first Adriano looked shaky in defense, quickly after kickoff failing to clear an easy ball from danger, but other than a terrible cross, when he failed to find a wide open Pedro in the second half, he barely put a foot wrong. He was rewarded for his strong showing in the 57th minute when he found himself in the right position to tip Cesc's cross on goal and double the lead.

Sergio Busquets 7.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 93
Passes: 80
Pass Accuracy: 96%
Tackles: 5
Interceptions: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 1
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Turnovers: 1

Sam says: 7.5

Despite being guilty of giving the ball away, which led to one of Almeria’s best chance of the night, Busquets was a key figure in maintaining Barcelona’s midfield dominance. Intercepting twice and completing 81 passes with a 95% success rate, Busquets even found himself high up the pitch, perhaps encouraged by his midweek goal, and although his shot was blocked it was signal as to how much room Barça were given by their opponents.

Cesc Fàbregas 7.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 92
Passes: 82
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Turnovers:4
Key Passes: 2
Fouls Won: 1

Sam says: 7.5

Fàbregas seems to have found his natural place in Tata Martino’s team and this was shown tonight as the midfielder seemed comfortable both on and off the ball. Starting the game from midfield, Fàbregas was eventually pushed into the centre forward position after Lionel Messi’s withdrawal. But regardless, when Barcelona attacked Fàbregas was a continued presence and assisted Barcelona’s second of the night. Linking well with Xavi before coolly sliding the ball across the goal for a waiting Adriano. The number four also showed an improvement in his passing accuracy. Regularly scoring somewhere between 80-90% completed, Fàbregas ended the match with a 93% success rate. Overall a good night for Cesc who will be hoping for a starting place in the team against Celtic midweek.

Andres Iniesta 6.7
Minutes played: 89
Touches: 95
Passes: 85
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 0
Key Passes: 2
Successful Dribbles: 3

Sam says: 7.0

As usual, Iniesta’s passing was his highlight. Rarely misplacing a pass, Iniesta alongside Xavi and Busquets controlled the game perfectly especially in the second half. Perhaps with one eye on the midweek tie against Celtic, Iniesta rarely looked like breaking into top gear and seemed content with dictating the game from deep before being subbed off in the 90th minute. You can imagine though he will be eager to break his goal and assist drought this season as soon as possible.

Alexis Sánchez 6.2
Minutes played: 81
Touches: 47
Passes: 38
Pass Accuracy: 74%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 5
Successful Dribbles: 0
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 1

Arron says: 6.5

A quiet performance from the Chilean, who needs to improve if he is to retain his starting berth in Gerardo Martino's attack. In his 81 minutes on the field, Sanchez barely did anything of note -- but at least that means that he didn't put a foot wrong either.

Lionel Messi 7.9
Minutes played: 29
Touches: 27
Passes: 17
Pass Accuracy: 82%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 0
Successful Dribbles: 3
Key Passes: 2
Turnovers: 0

Arron says: 8.5

In a half-an-hour cameo appearance cut short by injury, Lionel Messi was at his dazzling best, creating Barcelona's first goal out of nothing. He was creative, clinical and efficient; while the drop in quality was certainly noticeable when the Argentine left the field. Let's just hope Messi's in tip-top condition next month for the Clasico...

Pedro 6.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 48
Passes: 34
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Fouls Won: 4
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 0
Turnovers: 7

Arron says: 6.5

Thanks to Messi's individual heroics, Pedro will be credited with an assist for his performance last night, even if -- like Sanchez -- he was largely anonymous. Pedro turned the ball over frequently and couldn't hit his shots on target -- all in all, a forgettable display from the Spaniard.

Xavi 7.2
Minutes played: 61
Touches: 93
Passes: 86
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Key Passes 0
Successful Dribbles: 2
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 3

Arron says: 7.0

Whether Xavi expected to play or not, he performed admirably off the bench as Lionel Messi's replacement, shoring up the midfield and allowing Cesc Fabregas to move forward to fulfil a more creative role.

Cristian Tello 5.0
Minutes played: 9
Touches: 3
Passes: 2
Pass Accuracy: 50%

Arron says: N/A

Tello barely saw a touch in his late substitute appearance, meaning that he doesn't receive a full rating from me.

Jonathan dos Santos 4.7
Minutes played: 1
Touches: 5
Passes: 1
Pass Accuracy: 100%

Arron says: N/A

The same applies to Jonathan dos Santos, who saw very little time off the bench.

The Team 7.2
Passes: 751
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 15/4
Tackles: 32
Aerial Battles Won: 63%
Fouls Won/Committed: 20/15

Arron says: 7.5

Not great, not bad, but good enough. Barcelona did all that was required last night, preserving vital energy for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Celtic.

Gerardo Martino 7.2

Arron says: 8.0

Martino had a gameplan, and credit to him, he stuck to it. Even when Messi was struck down by injury, Martino kept Neymar on the bench -- as he had previously hoped to do -- and Barcelona still secured the three points. Excellent.

MOTM - Bartra 44%

Arron says: Messi

With a composed performance in the centre of defense, Marc Bartra claimed the Man of the Match award ahead of Lionel Messi (27%) and Adriano (6%).

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