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La Liga: Rayo Vallecano 0-2 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

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A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's solid La Liga victory over Granada.

Denis Doyle

Claudio Bravo
8.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 45
Passes: 33
Pass Accuracy: 64%
Shots Faced: 4
Saves Made: 4
Clearances: 0

Bostjan says: 8.5

After keeping his net unscathed for yet another game, Bravo is now a record holder as no goalkeeper has ever gone the first seven games of the season without conceding. But unlike in some games prior, the Chilean had to earn the clean sheet against Rayo. He made several excellent saves, none better than the one in the 9th minute when he dove to the right to keep out Alberto Bueno’s perimeter shot. Despite the many positives, which included excellent command of the area, Bravo disappointed in the passing department as he on a couple occasions very cheaply gave away possession.

Dani Alves
6.3
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 61
Passes: 33
Pass Accuracy: 73%
Key Passes: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 6
Fouls Won: 2
Clearances: 2
Fouls: 0
Interceptions: 1

Bostjan says: 7.0
It’s becoming impossible to predict which Alves will show up at the game. After a great game against Granada he stunk it up against Paris Saint-Germain, only to play another good game against Rayo Vallecano. However, this wasn’t a vintage Alves display as most of his contributions didn’t come in attack, but they came, shockingly, on defense. Throughout the game he was very alert with Rayo in possession and because of it he made numerous plays to win the ball back. In fact, Alves led the team in successful tackles.
Gerard Pique
7.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 67
Passes: 52
Pass Accuracy: 71%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 6
Aerial Duels Won: 2

Bostjan says: 7.5

An excellent all-around performance by Pique who picked up his first assist in 190 La Liga games when he brilliantly found Messi for the opening goal of the game. Very easily Pique could’ve picked up another two assists, but Munir and Messi couldn’t finish chances the center-back created for them. Pique’s overall passing accuracy might not look at all good, but only Xavi produced more key passes than Pique. Defensively Pique made many much needed plays, even at the expense of a yellow card.

Marc Bartra
7.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 51
Passes: 40
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 3
Aerial Duels Won: 3
Fouls: 0

Bostjan says: 7.5

Arguably the most pedestrian of the Barcelona back four on the night, but that was mostly due to the fact the he wasn’t tested much. Most of the game he contained Leo Baptistao very well, though around the one hour mark he was beaten by the Brazilian, but Bravo had Bartra’s back. The young center-back was once again excellent in the air game, winning all of the aerial duels he was involved in.

Jeremy Mathieu 7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 67
Passes: 50
Pass Accuracy: 74%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 5
Key passes: 1

Bostjan says: 7.5

Making his first start of the season at left-back Mathieu did not look out of place one bit. With him and two tall center-backs in the middle Barcelona gained a lot in the air-game, and it was the Frenchman who led the team in won aerial duels won. Mathieu wasn’t as involved in attack as Jordi Alba would’ve been, but he brought some defensive stability in the Barcelona backline. Also, while Mathieu might not have pitched a tent in the Barcelona attacking third, he actually caused several moments of confusion in Rayo’s defense as he helped create a couple of scoring chances for Barcelona.

Sergio Busquets
7.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 71
Passes: 58
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Clearances: 0
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Turnovers: 0
Key passes: 2

Arron says: 7.5

Much better from Busquets, and perhaps unsurprisingly, much better from Barça. Busquets established control of the midfield relatively early into proceedings and never relinquished that control, contributing at either end of the field. Earning fouls, playing key passes and making good interventions; Busquets did it all and rarely put a foot wrong. More of this please Sergio.

Xavi
7.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 74
Passes: 61
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 6
Successful Dribbles: 0
Interceptions: 1

Arron says: 7.5

Remember the days when Xavi would routinely register over 100 passes a match? Well, apparently those days might be over, but this "new" Xavi is arguably more decisive, and more clinical with the fewer passes that he makes. Six key passes and a passing accuracy under 90% suggests that Xavi spent the majority of the game looking for that killer pass, and while he didn’t register any assists, it was a good performance nonetheless.

Andres Iniesta
6.7
Minutes played: 69
Touches: 49
Passes: 34
Pass Accuracy: 76%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 1
Tackles: 2
Turnovers: 2
Key Passes: 0
Successful Dribbles: 1

Arron says: 7.0

After his strong performance against Paris Saint-Germain, I was expecting a little more from Andrés Iniesta on Saturday if truth be told. Against a porous defense and with space in which to operate, I was expecting something approaching a masterclass, yet Iniesta never really got into the game before being withdrawn for Ivan Rakitić. Not bad per se, but certainly not setting the world alight either.

Munir El Haddadi
6.6
Minutes played: 59
Touches: 38
Passes: 27
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Turnovers: 1
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 1
Interceptions: 1
Fouls Won: 1

Inder says: 7.5

Was a clear display of why Barca will improve with a striker of Suarez' quality on the pitch. Munir did very well to assist Neymar's goal by laying of the pass from Bartra onto Neymar's path. We can all see how having a pure striker on the pitch allows Neymar and Messi to play off of him, which should be considered a good omen once Suarez is available. Should probably have registered a 2nd assist when he was through on goal and chose to dribble the keeper than pass to Neymar, though, the Spanish international has shown signs of great potential. With time, his decision making will improve. That said, he deserved a penalty for that move after being brought down by Rayo's keeper.

Lionel Messi
8.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 66
Passes: 46
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Shots/Shots on Target: 8/3
Fouls Won: 2
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 1
Turnovers: 2
Tackles: 0

Inder says: 8.0

Opened the scoring in the 35th minute by using his trademark chip, after controlling a brilliant pass from Pique. Rayo saw a Messi who deserved 3 or 4 goals but simply couldn't finish. Still as involved and creating chances for the team or generally causing havoc from between the lines, Messi will be looking to close in on Telmo Zarra's all time record for goals scored in La Liga. Maybe the great one is saving that for a special occasion (El Clasico anybody?)...

Neymar
8.1
Minutes played: 80
Touches: 49
Passes: 28
Pass Accuracy: 79%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 4
Key Passes: 1
Tackles: 2
Turnovers: 7

Inder says: 8.5

Consistently dangerous, precision shooting, great link up play with Messi and drawing fouls from opponents. These 4 factors define Neymar's game when in form and the Brazilian has, so far, been arguably Barca's most potent threat upfront. Last season, saw Neymar miss some rather easy goals while holding onto the ball a little longer than he should have. Although he still does the latter a bit, his understanding with teammates has improved drastically. Lucho's tactics of playing three narrow forwards puts Neymar in dangerous areas of the pitch. On Saturday we saw him cap his 7th Liga goal in as many games, setting up clear chances for Messi and even making a couple of crucial steals on the defensive front. Although he was guilty of misplacing a pass or two and a heavy first touch, Neymar is truly beginning to show his true quality this year and I expect there is more on the way. His goal calmed Barca when he cleverly placed his shot into the far corner on the 36th minute to end the game as a competition.

Pedro
5.2
Minutes played: 31
Touches: 9
Passes: 5
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Fouls: 1
Turnovers: 1

Arron says: N/A

On the one hand, Pedro played for over half an hour. On the other, Pedro touched the ball just nine times in that half hour. Of course, part of me would like to blame Pedro for not involving himself, but this was endemic in the entire Barça display – save for a few choice moments, the attack didn’t really get going – so I’m going to be lenient and give Pedro an "N/A".

Ivan Rakitić
6.4
Minutes played: 21
Touches: 27
Passes: 23
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Key Passes: 1

Arron says: 7.0

After a somewhat muted display against PSG, it came as something of a surprise to see Ivan Rakitić dropped to the bench for this trip to Vallecas. However, Rakitić cannot play every game and he can make an impact off the bench too; as he nearly did on Saturday. One chance, and nearly an assist – not bad for a cameo.

Sandro Ramirez
6.0
Minutes played: 10
Touches: 8
Passes: 6
Pass Accuracy: 83%

Arron says: N/A

Sandro touched the ball eight times in just 10 minutes. Take note Pedro.

The Team 7.4
Passes: 523
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots/Shots on Target: 18/7
Tackles: 22
Aerial Battles Won: 50%
Fouls Won/Committed: 19/7

Arron says: 7.5

Not great. Not really even good. But adequate, and that suits me fine. If we get the three points, what does it matter if we win by two, or win by six? What does it matter if we really play well, or play badly, so long as the result is positive? I’d take a Clasico win like this, even if it means we only perform for a couple of minutes out of the 90. Oh yeah, and the defense looks great so that’s still something.

Luis Enrique
7.6

Arron says: 7.0

A good selection – but I do wonder what took Lucho so long with reintroducing Gerard Piqué into the starting line-up. Equally, I’m not sure Mathieu has the attributes required to play full-back for us, but that’s a story for another night.

MOTM - Lionel Messi
37%

Bostjan says: Pique

Once again Messi was voted Man of the Match, though, this time around it wasn't as convincing. That probably had something to do with the amount of chances the Argentine missed. Bravo was voted into second place (21%) while Pique's performance landed him in third (19%)