UEFA Champions League: Manchester City 0-2 FC Barcelona : Player Ratings

Clive Brunskill

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's UEFA Champions League victory against Manchester City

Victor Valdes
8.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 26
Passes: 12
Pass Accuracy: 58%
Shots Faced: 3
Saves Made: 3

Bostjan says: 7.5

Considering how much buzz Manchester City created around the Barcelona penalty box Valdes had remarkably little to do. He only faced three shots, two of which were fairly straightforward, though the late shot by Silva forced Valdes to make a good save, and made just one clearance. But that was action enough for Valdes to nearly gift a goal as he midway through the first half once again carelessly left the line to punch-out a ball that he plain missed. Though he did well to recover from that mistake, but had Martin Demichelis' header been on target the game could've went in a different direction.

Dani Alves 8.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 119
Passes: 62
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Key Passes: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 1
Clearances: 2
Fouls: 4
Fouls Won: 2

Bostjan says: 8.5

Alves has been on the receiving end of some criticism lately, but he once again showed that he remains one of the best right-backs in the business. Although he at first struggled a bit defensively, fouling the opponent one too many times which earned him a yellow card early in the game, he settled down, putting in a solid performance on the back end. But arguably his biggest contribution to the game came on the attacking side of the ball where combined well with both Alexis and Neymar. Each of them helped create Alves a scoring chance, but while he sent the first one wide of the post he made no such mistake the second time and secured the two goal advantage for Barcelona.

Gerard Pique 7.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 72
Passes: 53
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 12
Aerial Duels Won: 9

Bostjan says: 8.0

At times it appeared is if Pique had a relatively quiet game, but a second look will show that the tall center-back put in a very strong showing. He was tested a lot in the air game where he came out a winner 75% of the time, winning a rarely seen nine duels. His positioning was solid throughout the game. He even got involved on the attack on a couple occasions and he should've been rewarded with a goal, but it was incorrectly ruled out for offside.

Javier Mascherano
7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 64
Passes: 50
Pass Accuracy: 96%
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 3
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Fouls: 1

Bostjan says: 8.0

For those wondering why Mascherano is getting the nod ahead of Marc Bartra against "big teams" just check the tape of this game. Even though he on paper should've been physically outmatched by Alvaro Negredo, Mascherano not only held his own, he dominated the Spaniard on occasion. The Argentinian led the team in tackles and was constantly in good position to make the necessary play even if it meant to step up into the opposing player and pick up a yellow card as a result. Mascherano's passing from the back end was superb all game.

Jordi Alba
7.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 92
Passes: 67
Pass Accuracy: 94%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 7
Clearances: 3
Aerial Duels Won: 3
Key passes: 1

Bostjan says: 7.5

Alba had a quiet game against City, but that came as a result of the fact that Alba sacrificed his attacking duties for a more solidified defensive performance. There were no overlapping runs, no one-twos high up the pitch with Iniesta, hell, there were even no crosses. But that's OK, because Alba made up for that with a good defensive game. He had some trouble at times with Zabaleta and Silva, but overall it was an encouraging game in the back third for Alba who has been known to struggle when asked to take on a more defensive approach.

Sergio Busquets 7.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 75
Passes: 108
Pass Accuracy: 97%
Clearances: 3
Interceptions: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 1
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Turnovers: 1
Fouls: 2

Sam says: 7.5

Busquets had a huge role tonight, stopping the likes of David Silva, Negredo and Touré from getting at the Barcelona defence. Unsurprisingly, he did this brilliantly and Barcelona’s early possession was helped by Busquets speed at transferring defensive plays into attacking plays. His job is also usually marked by the things you don’t see, such as a run from a City midfielder into the Barça box. These were largely unseen because Busquets was smart when deciding who to track so that the defence isn’t overpowered. This can be largely attributed to his positioning, when there was a gap in the defence, Busi was quick to fill it. An impressive night that showed you don’t always need power to boss the midfield.

Xavi
7.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 144
Passes: 133
Pass Accuracy: 96%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Turnovers: 0
Key Passes: 1
Fouls Won: 2
Clearances: 1

Sam says: 8.0

Xavi twice found himself staring at Joe Hart’s goal. The first chance, a diagonal power shot from the dye of the area, produced a finger tip save from the City keeper. With his second he attempted to side-foot the ball into the net but got under it too much and the ball sailed over. Passing wise, Xavi was again the best on the park. Making a total of 133 passes, just 57 less then the entire City midfield, and with a success rate 96% ensured the Barcelona remained in control for the majority of the match.

Cesc Fabregas
7.8
Minutes played: 86
Touches: 123
Passes: 106
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 2
Tackles: 2
Turnovers: 2
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 3

Sam says: 7.5

Being arguably the strongest midfielder, one of Fàbregas’ roles tonight was to stop Yaya Touré bursting through and attacking the defence. A duty he performed well, coupled with Busquets, as Touré was unable to pick up the ball at the halfway line and charge at the Barça defence. Attacking wise, Fàbregas seemed more reserved then usual with both Xavi and Iniesta playing in front of him. Perhaps this was to stop City from countering but when the Spaniard did get forward he looked dangerous. The intricate one-twos with Messi were attempted and came off towards the latter parts of the game, springing Fàbregas clear who in turn found Piqué only for it to be ruled incorrectly offside.

Alexis Sanchez
7.0
Minutes played: 74
Touches: 54
Passes: 40
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 0
Successful Dribbles: 2
Key Passes: 1
Turnovers: 2
Tackles: 3

Sam says: 7.0

An okay night for Alexis in which any ball passed to him tended to be a lobbed through ball for him to chase down. Although he did combine well with the ever-willing to get forward Dani Alves. Alexis made good runs too, exploiting Clichy when the full-back failed to track the run. His game could be summed up by runs that didn’t quite make it and crosses that were a little too long. His effort can’t be faulted though and he helped track back when Alves had made a run and ensured Kolarov didn’t get space.

Lionel Messi
8.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 103
Passes: 84
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Shots/Shots on Target: 6/2
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 4
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 0

Sam says: 8.5

As most teams do, the majority of City defenders were surrounding Messi which meant his opening stages were very quiet. As the game grew and City legs tired, Messi found himself with more and more space and punished City. He looked threatening towards the end of the first half, a curled effort on his weaker that flew over the bar but he made a great run through the City defence at the start of the second. Iniesta spotted it, Demichelis saw red and Messi converted the following penalty. From here it was business as usual for Messi, probing around the penalty area looking for an opening. His presence helped to drag defenders and leave space for the other attackers. Overall a very good night and Messi’s first ever goal in Manchester.

Andres Iniesta
8.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 110
Passes: 94
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 1
Key Passes: 0
Successful Dribbles: 5
Turnovers: 0

Sam says: 8.5

As he has been in the last two matches, Iniesta was a candidate for best player on the field. His incisive passing helped Barcelona to find the City net and he never seemed afraid to run at the defence, knowing his ball control could see him make some decent yardage. The Barça number eight was also close to opening in the scoring in the first half, chinking his way through the City defence before Yaya Touré just scrambled the ball away. His precision pass led to the changing point in the game and he and Fàbregas switched positions excellently throughout.

Neymar
7.7
Minutes played: 26
Touches: 25
Passes: 22
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Successful dribbles: 1
Key passes: 2

Arron says: 7.5

Much like his return on Saturday evening against Rayo Vallecano, Neymar was a little subdued as he entered the game late on, but he again bounced back to make the difference. Combining with compatriot Dani Alves, Neymar provided the assist for Dani's all-important second goal -- and for that alone, justified Martino's decision to bring him into the game.

Sergi Roberto
7.0
Minutes played: 4
Touches: 8
Passes: 7
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Tackles: 1

Arron says: N/A

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was somewhat surprised to see Sergi Roberto's number called in the dying stages of last night's match; it's not that he lacks talent, just that it was a bold decision for Martino to make. However, like everything else last night, it paid dividends as Roberto hustled and harried his way through the final minutes to help keep Manchester City at bay. Still, he didn't see enough action to warrant a full rating from me.

The Team 8.4
Passes: 889
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Shots/Shots on Target: 10/4
Tackles: 14
Aerial Battles Won: 65%
Fouls Won/Committed: 19/10

Arron says: 8.5

In terms of the result, this was a 10/10 performance from the Blaugrana, but as we well know after Saturday's demolition of Rayo Vallecano, Barça are equally capable of putting in better displays than they did last night. Ultimately though, what difference does it make? Football, and knockout football especially, cares not about such subjective matters -- it's the result and the result alone that makes the difference.

Gerardo Martino 8.2

Arron says: 9.5

He came, he saw, he conquered. Gerardo Martino entered this match as something of an unknown quantity. He has never coached at this level in his career before, and here he was, ready to go toe-to-toe with one of the best managers in the business. And judging by the frustration that Pellegrini exhibited in the post match press conference, we know who came out on top...

MOTM - Dani Alves
24%

Bostjan says: Iniesta

One of the closest votes in recent memory, but it the end it was the scorer of second goal who went home with the honors, picking up 24% of the votes. Closely behind Alves were Messi with 21% and Valdes with 19%.

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