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La Liga: Valencia CF 0-1 FC Barcelona: Player Ratings

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A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's last-gasp La Liga victory over Valencia.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Claudio Bravo
9.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 37
Passes: 19
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots Faced: 4
Saves Made: 4
Clearances: 0

Bostjan says: 9.5

After a string of average performances at best, Bravo needed a game that would lift his confidence, and this will without a doubt serve as a pick-me-up. The Chilean stopped all four shots that he faces, but three of them were in a class of thereown, all on low shots. The first, just after the ten minute mark, Bravo stopped Rodrigo’s diagonal attempt, and then, in a seven minute span in the last 20 minutes of a scoreless game, brilliantly kept out shots from Sofiane Feghouli and Alvaro Negredo. And on top of that his passing game was without a single blemish on the day. That’s about as perfect a game a goalkeeper can have – unless you’re Javi Varas in 2011.

Dani Alves
5.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 85
Passes: 65
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Key Passes: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Tackles: 3
Turnovers: 4
Clearances: 0
Fouls: 3
Interceptions: 2

Bostjan says: 4.0

It’s been a problem all season long, but now it’s becoming a problem. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the positive plays Alves made against Valencia. Apart from one good play on Gaya I can’t remember a defensive stop, even though there were a couple more. He was manhandled by Rodrigo throughout the game, and on a different night it would’ve cost Barcelona. In attack he was a turnover machine – may it be a terrible first touch, bad pass, absolutely awful cross, or having the ball simply stolen away. The line has to be drawn somewhere and I think we’ve crossed it already.

Gerard Pique
7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 87
Passes: 77
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 5
Aerial Duels Won: 2

Bostjan says: 7.5

Color me surprised, but Pique has went through a three game stretch without screwing up. Apart from on a couple of plays, he was in great position to make the needed play, and around the one hour mark he cleared away a ball that looked destined for the back of the net – this after he sent a ball out for a corner kick that he could’ve easily put back into play. It was not the only play in which he hastily cleared the ball away, seemingly in panic. But I’ll forgive him those mistakes, because they didn’t come back to bite Barcelona in the (rear), and because he, apart from them, was very good.

Jeremy Mathieu
6.9
Minutes played: 68
Touches: 63
Passes: 54
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 3
Aerial Duels Won: 0
Fouls: 0

Bostjan says: 7.0

Making his first appearance against his former team, I think, Mathieu coped with the pressure pretty well. He picked up an early yellow card which limited his aggressiveness over the rest of the time he spent on the pitch, he was subbed off midway through the second half amidst undeserving whistles from the Valencia crowd. Like Pique, Mathieu also made a few hasty clearances for corner kicks, when he had time to simply play the ball forward, which put Barcelona into some unnecessary danger.

Jordi Alba
6.8
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 79
Passes: 65
Pass Accuracy: 83%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 0
Aerial Duels Won: 0
Key passes: 0

Bostjan says: 7.0

This was one of Alba’s quietest performance in recent games, especially in the first half, but as the game progressed and Barcelona desperately needed to score, Alba became more involved in the attacking phase. Defensively he was solid throughout the game, but his attacking performance was lacking, which was probably by design earlier in the game. He picked up the pace later and even sent a couple of dangerous crosses into the box, but all in all it was a very quiet showing by the left back.

Javier Mascherano
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 109
Passes: 98
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Tackles: 4
Interceptions: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Clearances: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key passes: 0

Sam says: 7.0

Playing a role more similar to his place in the Argentina national team, Mascherano helped to maintain Barça’s clean sheet. His four tackles and two clearances meant that Valencia’s chances were kept to a minimum. However he did sometimes creep into Busquets' space and this meant they almost got in each others way.

Sergio Busquets
7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 105
Passes: 92
Pass Accuracy: 94%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Turnovers: 3
Key Passes: 0
Aerial Duels Won: 5
Tackles: 5

Sam says: 8.0

Busquets put in a very solid performance that ended in one of the more rare events in his career, a goal. Sitting alongside Javier Mascherano, Busquets was spared some of his defensive duties as Mascherano largely occupied this role. This meant the Barça number five could be more creative and help to break down a organised Valencia. His passing helped to work away the defence and it was his smart reading of the play that led to him finding the breakthrough. Collecting the ball after a saved Neymar effort, he slotted the ball home and earned Barça the three points.

Xavi
6.6
Minutes played: 79
Touches: 86
Passes: 71
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 0
Tackles: 3
Turnovers: 0
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 0

Sam says: 7.0

Playing as the sole attacking midfielder on the pitch, Xavi was relied upon heavily to do the attacking work. However, it didn’t really come off for the Spaniard and his presence in the game dwindled as it went on. His passing too was uncharacteristically low at just 87%, this meant he didn't have as much influence as he would’ve liked and left the field on the 79th minute.

Luis Suarez
6.5
Minutes played: 79
Touches: 36
Passes: 28
Pass Accuracy: 68%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/1
Turnovers: 3
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 1
Fouls Won: 1
Tackles: 1

Arron says: 7.5

Further proof of the fine line between success and failure was provided to us on Sunday by Suarez courtesy of his bipolar performance against Valencia. For instance, he was undisputedly our brightest offensive threat and the bulk of our chances fell to his oft-clinical Uruguayan feet, yet for one reason or another he departed the match without a goal to his name. A marginally incorrect offside call could be seen as the main reason behind this, although that would ignore the general "laziness" seen in his finishing, as he squandered the Blaugrana’s best opportunities again and again. Then again, on another night he might have scored a hat-trick so we cannot be too harsh.

Lionel Messi
7.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 75
Passes: 61
Pass Accuracy: 77%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Fouls Won: 2
Successful Dribbles: 3
Key Passes: 3
Turnovers: 4
Tackles: 1

Arron says: 6.0

In all honesty, a disappointment. After consecutive hat-tricks against Sevilla and APOEL, there was no question that Lionel Messi had raised the bar pretty damn high, but to fall short of expectations by such a long way and in such an important fixture? Well, that’s kind of hard not to notice. On a more positive note, let’s be thankful for a moment that Leo wasn’t badly harmed by the missile thrown from the crowd in the midst of Barcelona’s celebrations, and that Valencia have acted so swiftly to ban the culprit.

Neymar
7.1
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 53
Passes: 37
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/1
Tackles: 1
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 1
Turnovers: 3

Arron says: 8.0

Sure, the bulk of the chances fell to Luis Suarez but there was something about Neymar’s display that singled him out (to me at least) as Barcelona’s best offensive performer. As a consequence of sharing the field and the spotlight with Messi and Suarez, Neymar now seems to have taken up a role on the periphery of matches, yet continues to pose quite a significant threat. The intelligence and timing of his runs could have quite easily broken the deadlock – for instance, it was his run and subsequent (mis)control that created one of Suarez’ golden chances. Oh yeah, and who was ghosting free in the area in the 93rd minute for a header? If not for the temporary heroics of Diego Alves, we might well have been celebrating Neymar’s contributions as the deciding factor in this game…based on this display, I think we should be anyway.

Ivan Rakitić
6.4
Minutes played: 22
Touches: 30
Passes: 22
Pass Accuracy: 86%
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 0

Arron says: 7.0

A necessary introduction, caused by a rather puzzling selection policy that ultimately didn’t work out as planned. The only surprise really was that Lucho waited until the 70 minute mark to rectify his mistake, as almost immediately (but perhaps coincidentally), Barcelona improved. That being said, let’s not claim as though Rakitic was the figurehead behind this win; in all honesty, his impact was felt more behind the scenes in the engine room rather than at the forefront of the action.

Rafinha
6.1
Minutes played: 11
Touches: 13
Passes: 11
Pass Accuracy: 82%
Fouls: 1

Arron says: N/A

Taking off Xavi…in a tight game…for…Rafinha? Perhaps if Andres Iniesta had been on the bench this change might have made a little more sense. Alas, it was Rafinha who entered the game and who didn’t really do an awful lot in his time on the field, hence the lack of a rating.

Pedro
5.8
Minutes played: 11
Touches: 12
Passes: 11
Pass Accuracy: 82%
Tackles: 1

Arron says: 6.5

Pedro on the other hand replaced Suarez in another puzzling switch, yet unlike Rafinha, the Spaniard’s introduction helped stabilise the Barcelona attack and liberate both Messi and Neymar. Not that they took full advantage, but they did do enough to combine in the build-up to the winner and that’s enough for me.

The Team 6.6
Passes: 741
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots/Shots on Target: 11/3
Tackles: 24
Aerial Battles Won: 48%
Fouls Won/Committed: 9/10

Arron says: 7.5

Defensively, we were solid(ish). Offensively, we were creative(ish). In summary, this was an ever so slightly above average performance against one of the division’s best sides – in their own backyard. At the season’s end, the three points gained in this fixture could prove vital – certainly, no-one will be ruing the chances we missed here purely because whether they did, or they didn’t, we have the result in the bag. Again, that’s good enough for me.

Luis Enrique
5.8

Arron says: 7.5

On another night, we would have been praising his tactical nous for the unorthodox selection as we romped to a comfortable win in enemy territory. However, as we didn’t cruise to the three points, Enrique is going to come under some criticism – although it’s probably immaterial as in the long-run, the return of Andres Iniesta will guarantee that we don’t see this line-up again.

MOTM - Claudio Bravo
62%

Bostjan says: Bravo

For the first time in his FC Barcelona career Bravo has been named Barca Blaugranes community Man of the match. Sergio Busquets (13%) might have been the hero in the end, but Bravo was the man that kept Barcelona in the game long enough for Busquets to score the winning goal.