La Liga: FC Barcelona 4-1 UD Almeria: Player Ratings

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

Victor Valdes
7.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 22
Passes: 4
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots Faced: 3
Saves Made: 2

Bostjan says: 6.0

It's starting to get ridiculous how many times Valdes gets caught in no man's land on corner kicks. It seems to happen at least once every game and more often than not Barcelona pay for it. Same thing happened against Almería. Valdes probably could've saved the header by Trujillo had he just stayed in goal. Putting that brain-fart aside Valdes had a solid game and even managed to make a couple good plays on high crosses. He ended the game with two saves, but all the good plays me made won't make me forget his voyages on corner kicks.

Dani Alves
7.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 122
Passes: 85
Pass Accuracy: 85%
Key Passes: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Tackles: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Interceptions: 2
Fouls: 2
Fouls Won: 2

Bostjan says: 7.5

Alves was very active against Almeria, both on offense and defense, but he looked more comfortable in the attacking third than at the back. He made several perfectly times runs to get behind the Almeria back-line, but all ended without a Barcelona celebration. Alves' defense suffered as a result of his positioning high up the pitch, but he made up for that with a couple Mascherano-like sliding tackles. Still, even though he led the team in tackles, I'd like to see Dani a bit more defensively responsible especially toward the end of a close games.

Carles Puyol
7.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 91
Passes: 43
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 3
Clearances: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 5

Bostjan says: 7.5

It was a very memorable game for the Barcelona captain as he scored his first La Liga goal since the opener last season against Real Socieadad. In the 83rd minute Puyol was in the perfect position to slam in Messi's rebound that bounced off the post. Puyol was also mostly very responsible in his defensive zone, making plays left, right, back and front. However, it wasn't all perfect for the captain who misjudged the flight of a cross in the 27th minute that led to Trujillo scoring Almeria's only goal of the game.

Javier Mascherano
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 56
Passes: 49
Pass Accuracy: 94%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Fouls: 3

Bostjan says: 7.5

El Jefecito had a very no nonsense game, allowing very little to Almeria's forwards. He did make several fouls that aided his cause, but only one was in a position that the visitors were able to threaten from. Mascherano made several good looking defensive plays in the middle of the pitch, but on several occasions he also helped out Adriano on the left side. Considering Puyol and Mascherano played very few minutes together in recent years the communication between them was very good throughout the game.

Adriano Correia
6.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 79
Passes: 60
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 1
Aerial Duels Won: 4
Key passes: 1

Bostjan says: 6.5

Adriano had a quiet game on the left side of the defense, making a couple solid defensive plays, but added little in the attacking phase of the game. He linked-up very well with Neymar as the duo combined for a couple quick, crisp passes, a couple of which gave Adriano some space to supply good crosses in front of goal, but both of his crosses were off the mark. Defensively Adriano also made a few mistakes, for example he was supposed to cover Almeria right-winger Helder Barbosa late in the second half, when the score was still 2-1, but Adriano wasn't even in the picture on the play. Thankfully the cross was off the mark or he would've had a play similar to the one that saw Antoine Griezmann score at Anoeta.

Sergio Busquets
7.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 109
Passes: 41
Pass Accuracy: 95%
Tackles: 1
Clearances: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 0
Aerial Duels Won: 3
Turnovers: 0
Fouls: 1

Sam says: 6.5

While Almeria didn’t always press high, Busquets had to be wary of any potential counter attacks, especially with the team being only one goal up for such a long period of time. He performed this task well, dropping deep when Barça needed him and helping to maintain midfield possession. Like Xavi, passing excellence has become routine for Busquets. Just over 100 passes with an accuracy of 95%. Nothing special from Busquets but he got the job done.

Cesc Fabregas
6.8
Minutes played: 79
Touches: 101
Passes: 94
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/2
Turnovers: 0
Key Passes: 2
Fouls Won: 0
Tackles: 3

Sam says: 7.0

Against Almeria, Fàbregas showed no shyness in pushing into the centre-forward role when Messi dropped deeper. From here he proved to be quite dangerous and his it was his shot that forced Esteban into a save, rebounded into Alexis Sánchez’s feet and Barça were 1-0 up. This shot was the first of two shots on target for Cesc. He also put in a good defensive shift, making three tackles and coupled with his 88% pass success rate, Fàbregas helped Barcelona to control the midfield before leaving the field in the 79th minute. One negative of his game was he appeared to be ball watching for Almeria’s goal.

Xavi
7.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 146
Passes: 134
Pass Accuracy: 96%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 0
Tackles: 2
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 8
Successful Dribbles: 0

Sam says: 7.5

Xavi was a real key player for Barcelona. Regularly his 40 yard diagonal passes found Neymar and had the Brazilian been more clinical, the scoreline would’ve been a lot more flattering for the Catalans in the opening stages. As per usual his passing was excellent, over 120 passes with a success rate of 96%. As the game wore on, Barcelona’s began to rely more on Xavi’s control which they lacked against Real Sociedad. The veteran then celebrated his return to the starting line up with a beautifully placed goal in the dying embers of the game.

Alexis Sanchez
7.9
Minutes played: 72
Touches: 50
Passes: 37
Pass Accuracy: 78%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 0
Key Passes: 3
Turnovers: 1
Tackles: 2

Inder says: 8.0

Brilliant game from the Chilean if only cause the few opportunities he got to create or score, he took. What stands out though is his ability to see and execute intelligent runs (even if Neymar didn't pass on that occasion). This season should see Alexis get a new contract for the way he has led the line. 16 goals in the league keeps him 3rd in the pichichi list (behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa). Moreover, he now seems more willing to take on players, which is a combination of practice and confidence, and tries to create, which is great.

Lionel Messi
8.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 109
Passes: 73
Pass Accuracy: 86%
Shots/Shots on Target: 11/2
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 5
Key Passes: 4
Turnovers: 0

Inder says: 8.5

Unbelievably effective without seeming to get out of 3rd gear. La Pulga was kept quiet for the first 20 odd minutes before picking up the pace. That free kick, however, was just epic. No keeper in the world could have stopped that. After the goal, Messi got even more involved and created some great chances for Neymar (on another day he would have got a couple of assists). 8 goals in his last 6 games are numbers very few players in the world can produce.

Neymar
5.9
Minutes played: 88
Touches: 87
Passes: 49
Pass Accuracy: 86%
Shots/Shots on Target: 6/1
Fouls Won: 3
Key Passes: 3
Successful Dribbles: 8
Turnovers: 2

Inder says: 7.0

Had a few great runs and was willing to work defensively. Dribbled well but just couldn't finish. It was not one of his better games and we do wonder if all the nonsense coming out about his transfer is finally getting to the kid (hoping it's not) but more likely, it is just a matter of confidence. Players, in my opinion, can get away with not finishing moves if they continue to do the basics right (remember Pedro and Alexis last year?). Obviously, we as fans expect much more but let's not forget this is his first season. I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Pedro
7.0
Minutes played: 18
Touches: 18
Passes: 11
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Key passes: 1

Arron says: 7.0

Pedro was the first of Martino’s three substitutions, and despite entering the game a little later than some may have anticipated the Spanish winger still found time to influence proceedings, setting up Xavi’s well-taken fourth goal. He might not have Neymar’s talent, but he certainly looked sharper than the Brazilian in his time on the field.

Andres Iniesta
6.9
Minutes played: 11
Touches: 13
Passes: 8
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1

Arron says: N/A

Iniesta replaced Cesc Fàbregas with a little over ten minutes left to play, and while Barcelona scored twice in his time on the field, Iniesta didn’t do an awful lot to grab my attention.

Cristian Tello
5.9
Minutes played: 2
Touches: 3
Passes: 0
Pass Accuracy: 0%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Arron says: N/A

Likewise, I didn’t even know Tello had entered the game until I overheard his name on commentary.Certainly not enough to warrant a full rating.

The Team 7.3
Passes: 785
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 29/11
Tackles: 17
Aerial Battles Won: 64%
Fouls Won/Committed: 12/8

Arron says: 7.5

Obviously, this is FC Barcelona, so there have been some people criticising last night’s display. I mean why would you be happy with a 4-1 home win? All joking and passive aggressive sarcasm aside, I prefer to look on the bright side – this wasn’t a vintage display, yet we still won by three and could have scored more than our eventual four goals. Just imagine what will happen when we do hit top form...

Gerardo Martino 7.2

Arron says: 7.5

Martino may not have been on the touchline, but he wasn’t far away either, and he must havebeen calling the shots. A strong line-up, good substitutions; it was a drastic improvement on lastweekend’s forgettable display.

MOTM - Lionel Messi
39%

Bostjan says: Xavi

There's no denying that Messi, who was voted the man of the match by the BB community, had an enormous impact on the game, but my MotM vote goes to Xavi. The Maestro put in an impeccable performance and brought some much needed stability into the Barcelona midfield. Xavi finished the voting in second place with 28%, ahead of Puyol who picked up 15% of the votes.

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