Victor Valdes 6.5
Did the Catalan keeper actually have anything to do in this match? He came out quickly to narrow the angle for Joao Victor’s early chance, but even there he did not have to make a save. Valdes displayed fine distribution and extended his personal best clean sheet record making it a successful day for the stand-in captain, though his lack of action makes it difficult to award a higher rating.
Dani Alves Yellow 8.0
The Brazilian played well last night setting up one goal and scoring a screamer of his own. Usually Culés sigh when Dani Alves shoots from long-range, but that 25-yard bullet was a timely reminder of his undoubted talent. With Isaac Cuenca on the wing alongside him the right-hand side was always posing a threat for the Mallorca defense and the cross for Lionel Messi’s hat-trick was sublime. More of the same please Dani!
Eric Abidal subbed out 45th min. 6.5
If I appear harsh on the defense, it is only because they did not have anything to do. Most of the possession was inside the Mallorca half, and when the Islanders got the ball, they failed to threaten at all. The Frenchman put in a good shift before being replaced by Gerard Pique at the interval.
Yet again the Argentine was played in the heart of defense, and once again, he was faultless. Sure, the Mallorca attack failed to test him with regularity, but when they attempted to build an attack, Masherano was there putting a stop to it. Moving into defensive midfield after Carles Puyol’s introduction he never put a foot wrong.
Sergio Busquets subbed out 57th min. 7.0
Busquets will be hard-pressed to remember such an easy game. He had all the time in the world when he got on the ball, and he picked his passes well. Sure, he took a few knocks, but nothing different to the usual. He dictated the tempo well in Xavi’s absence and after he was substituted for Carles Puyol, it was clear that Barcelona dropped a gear or two.
Thiago Alcantara 7.0
The pressure was on Thiago to deliver considering the omission of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, though the Spanish international coped well. He did not offer the killer pass that Xavi would have, but most of the time his decision making was good. That being said, there were occasions that were crying out for a shot where he opted to pass. Working for the good of the team is brilliant, but sometimes Thiago needs to know that the extra pass is just overkill.
Seydou Keita 6.5
The best I have seen the Malian for some time, but that is not the greatest compliment. Threatening with an early header and a long-range shot on the stroke of half-time he dipped in and out of the game. At times he was in the thick of the action, and then he would go five or ten minutes without doing anything of note. Typical Keita!
Adriano Correia 9.0
So many had question marks over the Brazilian, but last night he was supreme. His header won the penalty, before he set-up a further two goals. Whenever Adriano touched the ball he posed a threat; it was throwback to his days at Sevilla. Given David Villa’s drop in form, we may see Adriano more often as an extra attacker. Lest we forget the magnificent slide-rule pass to Cuenca.
Isaac Cuenca 9.5 MOTM
Just who would have predicted a performance like this from the youngster? Each run was full of intent and often led to a cross. Speaking of his crosses, I cannot remember one that did not cause a gasp from the Camp Nou crowd. Whether it was drilled low into the six-yard box or floated to the back post (like the second goal) they caused huge problems and Dani Alves should take note. Rounding Aouate to score was the icing on the cake. My Man of the Match.
David Villa subbed out 63rd min 5.5
Sorry El Guaje. If I am frank with this, he played awful. When he was played through he looked for the pass, which is great, unless you are the record goal-scorer for Spain. I expect Villa to shot on sight, but his unselfishness was his downfall. Some reports suggesting that he is playing with discomfort, I sure hope this isn’t Villa at 100%...
Lionel Messi 8.5
Before everyone disagrees, I have my reasons. Yes, Lionel Messi did score a hat-trick, and I was wrong to suggest that he needed a rest, but aside from the goals La Pulga was a little quiet. Dropping deep to compensate for Xavi’s absence he was not as threatening as his hat-trick suggests, and often ran into cul-de-sacs instead of passing off. A little harsh, but Messi can still do better.
Gerard Pique sub on 45th min 7.0
Replacing Eric Abidal at half-time I did not see Pique put a foot wrong. Calm in possession and strong in the tackle; he was showing none of the usual ill-effects after a spell on the sidelines. Forcing a goal-line clearance from Chico with a nice volley, I was impressed by Pique last night.
Carles Puyol sub on 57th min 6.0
No matter what Puyol always gives his all. It didn’t matter that he was subbed on when 4-0 up, the Catalan still played at full speed, even when his teammates were slowing down. Never tested by Mallorca, Pep will be pleased by his performance.
Gerard Deulofeu sub on 63rd min 7.0
At 17 years-old, it is clear that Deulofeu is the next in a long line of stars to come out of La Masia. Replacing David Villa, he was probably more threatening than the Spanish legend forcing a fine challenge within minutes of his arrival. The cute nutmeg on Joao Victor was brilliant to watch. A name for the future.
Honourable mentions for Mallorca
Dudu Aouate 6.5
Despite the score line, he did not play that badly, though he should have dealt with some crosses a little better.
Chico Flores 8.0
If you missed his block on Adriano’s volley, please find a video. It was magnificent defending, and he proved it was no fluke with a header to deny Gerard Pique a goal.
The Rest 5.0
To sit back at the Camp Nou is to be expected, but the lack of pressure must be worrying for Joaquin Caparros. Barcelona had a lot of time on the ball, which is a tactical nightmare. Caparros will also be disappointed that his side failed to fashion one chance in the 90 minutes.
If you disagree, feel free to call me out below. A huge improvement over Granada though!