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FC Barcelona: Player of the Month: August 2013

Utilising the Barca Blaugranes Community Player Ratings, just who was FC Barcelona's best player over the past calendar month?

Here at Barça Blaugranes, we poll you, the community, after each and every match, asking you to rate the performances of the Barcelona squad. These ratings are relayed back to you in the form of our new-and-improved Player Ratings post – which now includes a gallery of photos from the match in question. Over time, we’ve also used the Community Player Ratings to suggest squads – compiling who you believe to be Barcelona’s best, or at least, most "in-form" players at that moment in time.

However, these features are too irregular for my liking and while reading a recap of each player’s performance after each game is great, what does it mean in the context of the season? Therefore, to answer that question, we’re debuting a new feature – the Barça Blaugranes Player of the Month, which will use your ratings to ascertain which player has excelled over the past calendar month.

In addition to the Player of the Month award, this post will also list four other award winners – naming and shaming the "Most Disappointing Player", celebrating our "Most Consistent Performer", noting our "Most Inconsistent Performer" and in future months, finding our "Most Improved Player" for each month.

Without further ado, here are the award winners for August:

Player of the Month

Winner: Cesc Fàbregas
Average Rating: 7.45
Appearances/Goals/Assists: 4/0/4

A deserved winner of our inaugural Player of the Month award, Cesc Fàbregas entered the season with question marks over his long-term future at the club, and ended the month as one of Barça’s most important players. While Cesc couldn’t add to the four assists he grabbed in the opening weekend of the season against Levante, he displayed a willingness to "take one for the team", moving away from his preferred midfield role to deputise for an injured Lionel Messi and it’s that kind of attitude that endears Fàbregas to the fans; he’s just happy to be here playing for his boyhood club.

Runner-Up: Victor Valdés
Average Rating: 7.40
Appearances/Clean Sheets/Goals Conceded: 4/3/1

Victor Valdés is arguably in the form of his life, reminding Culés why they should be upset at his decision to leave the club at the end of his contract in less than twelve months time. In Barcelona’s four competitive matches in August, Valdés conceded just once – and even that goal from David Villa had a touch of fortune about it. With three clean sheets and two Man of the Match awards, Valdés was desperately unlucky to finish as runner-up.

Honourable Mentions

Believe it or not, Adriano Correia actually boasted the highest average rating (7.60), but his lack of appearances (two, or just 135 minutes of action) excluded him from taking the award. Barça’s latest big-money signing Neymar ended the month with a 7.35 average rating, which just so happens to put the Brazilian ahead of Lionel Messi, who finished the month with a 7.30 average rating, good enough for fifth-place.

Most Disappointing Player

Winner: Jordi Alba
Average Rating: 5.87 (3 appearances)

Voted as Barcelona’s best signing of last season, Jordi Alba start to the season disappointed many Barça Blaugranes community members, who were less than impressed with his performances against Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa and against Malaga in La Liga. His 5.87 average rating isn’t actually the lowest in the club, but it was –by far – the lowest of the usual starters.

Honourable Mentions:

Instead, it was Alex Song who boasted the worst average rating (5.75) from his two appearances, although this is mostly down to his late cameo against Atleti. Meanwhile, Pedro’s average rating took a huge dip after his brace against Levante; if we averaged out his rating in August’s final three matches, Pedro would have easily claimed this award with a 5.67 rating, rather than the 6.30 he finished the month with.

Most Consistent Performer

Winner: Javier Mascherano
Average Rating: 7.15

Every team needs that one player that’s renowned for performing at a consistent level, as when all else fails, you know that this guy will still deliver – and Javier Mascherano’s August is the perfect example. In four appearances, Mascherano’s rating for any given game was, at most, 0.15 from his average rating of 7.15. If he keeps up this high level, there might not be a space in the starting XI for Carles Puyol after all...

Most Inconsistent Performer

Winner: Dani Alves
Average Rating: 6.75

Pedro could have been a contender, but aside from his opening day against Levante, he was consistently poor – and so was Jordi Alba. You could make a case for Cesc Fàbregas given the fluctuation in his ratings from game-to-game, but really, there was only ever going to be one winner: Dani Alves. Our Brazilian right-back started and ended the month on a high note, with good performances against Levante and Atletico Madrid, struggling in the gap in-between.

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