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La Liga: FC Barcelona 4-1 Real Betis: Player Ratings

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A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's 4-1 La Liga victory over Real Betis

Denis Doyle

Victor Valdés 8.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 56
Passes: 29
Pass Accuracy: 45%
Shots Faced: 5
Saves Made: 4

Bostjan says: 8.5

Valdes had a very strong game in goal for Barcelona, and you could make a good case for him to be named Man of the Match. His saves early in the game on Molina and Juan Carlos, when Barcelona struggled to get going, kept his team from falling into an early hole. During that stretch he also picked up an unnecessary yellow card for dissent. After Barcelona took the lead Valdes was able to relax a bit, but had to be on his toes again in the second half, when he was also bailed out by the frame of the goal. Finishing the game with four saves, he was unable to record a clean sheet because of an excellently taken penalty kick by Molina. But even though he gave up the late goal, Valdes had a very strong game, even showing his sweeper-keeper abilities with a sliding tackle 30-yards away from goal.

Dani Alves 6.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 86
Passes: 42
Pass Accuracy: 71%
Key Passes: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 4
Turnovers: 1
Fouls Won: 3

Bostjan says: 6.0

Alves might have redeemed himself a bit with an excellent cross that was converted into a goal by Fabregas, but the Brazilian had a very frustrating performance. Even though the stats will say that he had a strong defensive game making three tackles, he didn't pass the "eye-test" as he had a mostly negative impact on defense. Dani made several poor choices, including a short pass to a well-covered Iniesta that in the end led to a scoring chance for the home side, and the most glaring one, when he gave up a penalty kick. Some say it was a soft call, I don't necessarily agree with that because he put himself in a bad spot and reached around Matilla, earning a yellow card. All those problems in Barcelona's third even though Alves often didn't even bother to return to help his teammates defend.

Marc Bartra 8.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 64
Passes: 44
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 7
Aerial Duels Won: 4

Bostjan says: 9.0

Another performance by the young defender in which he barely put a foot wrong. No matter what aspect of the game you look at, Bartra excelled in each of them. Perfect positionally all game long he made several strong tackles as well as a handful of brilliant blocks. He was also very good in the air game, losing just a single duel, and one of his headers even started a counter-attack that resulted in Pedro doubling Barcelona's lead. He always looked to make the smart play instead of trying to force things. The continued string of fantastic performance over the last months has earned Bartra his first call up by Vicente del Bosque to the Spain national team. Congratulations Marc!

Carles Puyol 6.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 43
Passes: 31
Pass Accuracy: 77%
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 7
Aerial Duels Won: 2

Bostjan says: 7.0

Showing a little rust at times, Puyol didn't necessarily make any glaring mistakes, but compared to Bartra he looked, and I apologize for the term, inferior. Puyol did make several good clearances, but he always lived on the dangerous side with his passing. Like Bartra, he too only lost one aerial duel, but Puyol was involved in less of them than his defensive partner. With playing time that will get Puyol back in game rhythm after the long injury absence, I fully expect him to return to the commanding, shut-down defender he has been his entire career.

Martin Montoya 7.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 68
Passes: 40
Pass Accuracy: 83%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 3
Fouls Won: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0

Bostjan says: 7.0

Making his second start of the season at left-back Montoya experienced some growing pains as he struggled to keep up with Vadillo's pace. Montoya wasn't beaten often, but he allowed a good share of crosses to go into the penalty area from his side. However, Monty improved as the game went on, making several good interceptions and tackles along the way. He was rewarded for his improved play in the second half when he perfectly timed a run to get on the receiving end of Iniesta's over-the-defense pass to square the ball to Cesc for the full-back's first assist of the season.

Alex Song 8.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 78
Passes: 50
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Tackles: 8
Interceptions: 6
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Fouls Won: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Turnovers: 3

Sam says: 8.0

Song has not always convinced in a Barcelona shirt but against Betis he showed an understanding of what is expected of a Barça defensive midfielder. Putting in more than his fair share of defensive work, Song made eight tackles with four interceptions. Impressive stats for a midfielder who is usually second choice. This was not Song’s highlight of the game though, that came in the build up to Barcelona’s first goal. An exquisite defence splitting pass found Cesc Fàbregas who in turn found Neymar for Barça’s first. The best pass of the evening and arguably the best of Song’s Barça career.

Xavi 7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 86
Passes: 77
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Key Passes: 1
Fouls Won: 1

Sam says: 6.5

A relatively quiet night for Xavi. Sitting comfortably in the centre of midfield, Xavi was looking to play the pass before the final pass for most of the night. Whilst also helping in defence when needed, ensuring the defensive work of Busquets wasn’t missed. Passing, as usual, was of the highest quality as Xavi enjoyed a relatively uneventful night.

Cesc Fàbregas 8.6
Minutes played: 80
Touches: 63
Passes: 54
Pass Accuracy: 83%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/2
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 3
Successful Dribbles: 2

Sam says: 9.0

Fàbregas had a great game tonight. After Messi left the field, Fàbregas adopted his increasingly familiar false nine role but what was really impressive was his ability to drop into midfield and act as a fourth midfielder. Cesc was on hand in the centre of the pitch if needed and looked to get forward whenever possible, offering Pedro and Neymar another option. The Barcelona number four unselfishly assisted for Neymar’s opener and was rewarded himself when Montoya played the ex-Arsenal man in for Barça’s third. He then grabbed a rare headed goal in the 79th minute to bring his Liga tally up to four goals.

Pedro 7.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 57
Passes: 42
Pass Accuracy: 67%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/2
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 2

Arron says: 8.0

Scoring his first goal in nearly two months, Pedro snapped a seven-game goal drought in La Liga to grab his sixth strike of the season – keeping him ahead of both Cesc Fàbregas and Neymar in Barcelona’s internal competition to be named "top-scorer not named Lionel Messi". Overall, Pedro displayed all his best attributes last night – pace, work-rate and a deadly eye for goal. Surely I’m not the only one who would be like to see Pedro cut in from the left more regularly now that Neymar will surely be required in the centre?

Lionel Messi 5.7
Minutes played: 22
Touches: 6
Passes: 3
Pass Accuracy: 67%

Arron says: N/A

I'm going to be generous and give Lionel Messi an N/A for his brief appearance on Sunday. Get well soon Leo.

Neymar 7.7
Minutes played: 74
Touches: 60
Passes: 30
Pass Accuracy: 67%
Shots/Shots on Target: 4/4
Fouls Won: 5
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 4
Turnovers: 5

Arron says: 8.0

With his fourth goal of the campaign, Neymar continues to average either a goal or an assist each La Liga appearance – a statistic Barcelona will be keen to continue now that Lionel Messi is ruled out until the New Year. Overall, this wasn’t Neymar’s best performance, but he was still decisive – and could have easily scored two or three on another night.

Andres Iniesta 7.8
Minutes played: 68
Touches: 74
Passes: 60
Pass Accuracy: 83%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Sam says: 7.0

Iniesta performed well after being brought on for an injured Lionel Messi. Straight in with a tough aerial duel, Iniesta showed he knew what kind of game this was and was integral in helping Barca to midfield dominance. But another game when Iniesta has offered neither a goal or an assist likely because of the deeper position he found himself in. Playing alongside Xavi in what can be seen as the second line of attack, Iniesta is often Barcelona’s get-out-of-jail player especially when Busquets isn’t playing. Meaning the Barcelona defenders will search for the little maestro to get them out for a tricky situation. Overall Iniesta played well in his role and showed a more attacking side to his game once Fàbregas left the field.

Cristian Tello 5.6
Minutes played: 16
Touches: 11
Passes: 7
Pass Accuracy: 86%

Arron says: N/A

This was the most minutes Tello had played in roughly a month -- but still not enough to earn a full rating from me.

Sergi Roberto 6.9
Minutes played: 10
Touches: 5
Passes: 3
Pass Accuracy: 67%

Arron says: N/A

Similarly, it was nice to see Sergi Roberto make a cameo, but it wasn't enough to warrant a full rating.

The Team 7.9
Passes: 540
Pass Accuracy: 79%
Shots/Shots on Target: 11/8
Tackles: 26
Aerial Battles Won: 49%
Fouls Won/Committed: 18/12

Arron says: 7.5

The result was immense, although there were aspects of the performance that were a little troublesome. Like for instance, how Real Betis managed to dominate the early stages of the match, or how inaccurate our passing was over the course of the 90 minutes. But really, I can have no qualms with this display, especially as it opened up a nice three point lead over Atletico Madrid.

Gerardo Martino 7.9

Arron says: 8.0

In a tough situation thanks to Messi's injury and a disappointing start, Martino made the necessary adjustments to keep his team on track.

MOTM - Bartra 25%

Arron says: Fabregas

With exactly a quarter of the vote, Marc Bartra claimed the Man of the Match award ahead of Cesc Fabregas (23%) and Victor Valdes (21%).