La Liga: FC Barcelona 3-2 Valencia CF: Player Ratings

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's 3-2 La Liga win over Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday evening

Victor Valdés 8.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 46
Passes: 17
Pass Accuracy: 35%
Shots Faced: 10
Saves Made: 8

Bostjan says: 8.5

Another game, another excellent showing by the Barcelona goalkeeper. The game started slowly for Victor, only having to make a routine save in the opening 30 minutes, but things heated up later. Over the next ten minutes Valdes made three excellent saves, two on Pabon, one on Postiga, to keep Valencia off the scoreboard. However, soon thereafter he was forced to twice pick the ball out of his net on two shots that he had no chance of saving. Valdes didn't allow any more goals in the second half, making an exceptional fingertip save on Jonas' effort late in the game.

Dani Alves 6.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 91
Passes: 60
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Key Passes: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 1
Turnovers: 2
Fouls Won: 1

Bostjan says: 6.0

In what was collectively a very poor defensive performance Alves was the worst of them all. Constantly out of position defensively Pabon was able to exploit the acres of space Alves left. Poor positioning also led to Alves picking up his second yellow card of the season, and he could also do little to assist Iniesta in preventing Valencia's second goal. Offensively it wasn't much better for the Brazilian as eight Barcelona attacks ended with a poor cross from the right back. The only real strong point of Alves' game was his passing as he completed an impressive 93% of his attempts.

Gerard Pique 6.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 62
Passes: 47
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 3
Clearances: 10
Aerial Duels Won: 4

Bostjan says: 7.0

Pique had a somewhat up-and-down game against Valencia. He started strong, stopping a couple Valencia's attacks, and showing good confidence. But then came a difficult stretch for the central-defender as he in a matter of minutes first failed to pick up the onrushing Pabon and then allowed too much space to Postiga on Valencia's opener. Pique settled down in the second half making several important clearances and wining a couple air duels. 

Javier Mascherano 7.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 55
Passes: 44
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 0

Bostjan says: 7.0

In this young season Masherano was arguably Barcelona's best defender in all of them. That was not the case in this game. He didn't necessarily have a bad game, but he didn't exhibit the confidence visible in previous games. Mascherano's passing suffered a little bit when Valencia pressed higher up the pitch; most noticeable by the fact the he didn't lead the team in accurate long passes. The game ended on a pretty bad note for the Argentine as he played the last minutes of the game with dizziness after a hard collision with Busquets.

Jordi Alba 6.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 94
Passes: 65
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Key Passes: 3
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 2
Turnovers: 0
Fouls Won: 1
Clearances: 9

Bostjan says: 7.5

Completely under the radar Alba put in a very solid performance against his former club. He read the play well and wasn't left stranded up the pitch like his teammate playing on the right side of the back-line. Alba showed good chemistry with Neymar as the duo combined for a few nice plays. Alba also had a chance to score a goal that would've put the game out of reach late in the second half, but his attempt was stopped by the excellent Diego Alves. Defensively Jordi made several good plays to stop opposing attacks, but he did pick up a yellow card for a clumsy tackle that could've been avoided.

Sergio Busquets 7.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 86
Passes: 66
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Tackles: 6
Interceptions: 3
Fouls Won: 3
Turnovers: 3

Arron says: 8.5

Busquets was a colossus for the majority of the match on Sunday, winning the majority of his challenges to lead the team in tackles with a stunning six. That determination and precision in the tackle enabled the Blaugrana to retrieve possession quickly in the early stages of the match, helping Barça build up a good spell of pressure on Diego Alves’ goal, culminating in Messi’s hat-trick. Having played his part in two of the goals, Busquets was arguably one of the contenders for the Man of the Match award.

Andrés Iniesta 7.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 96
Passes: 80
Pass Accuracy: 95%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Turnovers:1
Key Passes: 2
Fouls Won: 2

Arron says: 7.0

Solid, but not spectacular; it’s a sentence that seems to sum up Andrés Iniesta’s season to date. Of course, last year Iniesta was one of the key driving forces behind Barça’s eventual title win, but it appears as though his hectic schedule has finally caught up with him. Regardless, this Iniesta is still good enough to inspire Barcelona to a win, but if the Blaugrana have designs on the UEFA Champions League title, they will need Don Andrés to get back to his best, sooner rather than later.

Cesc Fabregas 7.9
Minutes played: 80
Touches: 91
Passes: 84
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 5
Successful Dribbles: 0
Tackles: 1

Arron says: 9.0

On the other hand, one could easily make the argument that Iniesta is conserving energy – it’s not like he needs to excel if Cesc Fàbregas is playing this well beside him. Almost every pass into the final third created a chance – on another night, Fàbregas could have easily ended up with four or five assists. Still, Cesc created the opening two goals and was probably Barça’s second-best offensive player over the course of the 90 minutes.

Pedro 5.6
Minutes played: 72
Touches: 43
Passes: 29
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/0
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 2
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 0
Tackles: 2

Arron says: 6.0

With Alexis Sánchez resting at home in Barcelona, this was supposed to be Pedro’s chance to shine and display why he should start alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar. But if this was an audition for a starring role, Pedro shouldn’t expect a call-back from Gerardo Martino any time soon. Pedro may work hard defensively and does draw fouls, but I can’t remember anything particularly positive or memorable about his performance on Sunday. Must do better.

Lionel Messi 9.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 88
Passes: 58
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Shots/Shots on Target: 9/7
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 6
Key Passes: 4
Turnovers: 2

Arron says: 9.0

Curiously enough, we could probably say the same about Lionel Messi as well, although it’s probably a little harsh to criticise a striker who ultimately won the three points with his first-half hat-trick. However, this is Lionel Messi – and we hold him to higher standards than other players, so really, we can mention that he should have scored more. That being said, it’s impossible to see any real downsides in a match where Messi was gifted that many clear-cut chances.

Neymar 7.5
Minutes played: 89
Touches: 82
Passes: 57
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Fouls Won: 6
Key Passes: 3
Successful Dribbles: 1
Turnovers: 4
Tackles: 1

Arron says: 8.0

If not for the assistant referee, Neymar would have surely opened his La Liga account on Sunday – but the Brazilian will be encouraged by his performance, which saw him set up Messi’s third goal; a goal which turned out to be the winner. Again, there are concerns over his discipline – it really was a needless yellow card to pick up, but equally, who are we to judge? We’re only human, and it takes an iron will not to react when you’ve been kicked for 90 minutes.

Cristian Tello 6.3
Minutes played: 18
Touches: 12
Passes: 10
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Key Passes: 1

Arron says: 7.0

Cristian Tello didn’t get an awful lot of time to impose himself on the game, although there are many who feel that he made more of an impact than Pedro, the man who he replaced on 72 minutes.

Jonathan dos Santos 6.1
Minutes played: 10
Touches: 12
Passes: 11
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Clearances: 1

Arron says: 6.5

Jonathan dos Santos wasn’t expected to make an appearance in this match, particularly given the competitiveness of the second half – but the Mexican carried himself well in his short time on the field, displaying a good work ethic to get back and help out his defensive colleagues.

Sergi Roberto 5.7
Minutes played: 1
Touches: 1
Passes: N/A
Pass Accuracy: N/A

Arron says: N/A

Sergi Roberto was basically brought on to waste time – it would be unfair to give him a full rating.

The Team 7.4
Passes: 670
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Shots/Shots on Target: 20/9
Tackles: 23
Aerial Battles Won: 45%
Fouls Won/Committed: 20/11

Arron says: 7.5

While Valencia are surely weaker than they were a season ago, it’s still highly impressive that Barcelona managed to storm into a 3-0 lead – especially after their struggles away from home against both Atletico Madrid and Malaga. Conceding twice was far from ideal, although Barcelona held their own after the break – and if we’re being honest, they deserved to win by a couple of goals given the amount of chances that they created in the second half.

Gerardo Martino 7.3

Arron says: 8.0

Resting Xavi and Alexis Sánchez was a bold move for a tough fixture like this, but it paid dividends for Gerardo Martino – who displayed that he’s not afraid to make a difficult decision or two. Not only that, but he’s also not afraid of straying from the Barça script, packing the midfield in the latter stages to secure a valuable three points. All in all, a great night for the Argentine tactician.

MOTM - Messi 63%

Arron says: Messi

Back in the team, and back winning awards; Messi claimed the Man of the Match Award with a landslide 63% of the vote thanks to his first-half hat-trick

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