Barcelona have kept their invincibility in all competitions this season with an empathic 5-0 home win over Mallorca. Lionel Messi returned to his very best and scored a hat trick in just 30 minutes. Barcelona have now scored 26 goals and conceded none in their six home league games so far. Key players like Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas and Andrés Iniesta were rested today, but, inspired by Lionel Messi, Barcelona still had no trouble beating Mallorca.
Here are the ratings for today’s match.
Victor Valdés – 7.5
It’s becoming increasingly hard to rate Valdés in games like today’s (which have become usual). He did well in whatever few chances Mallorca created. One moment when Mascherano erred on a back-pass header, Valdes was there to mop it up. His distribution as well as his positioning on corners was very good.
Adriano Correira – 8.5
Excellent performance, especially on the offensive end of the pitch. He got the penalty for the first goal and had two assists, including an exceptional one for Cuenca’s goal. Had one of his best matches with the Barcelona jersey.
Eric Abidal – 7.5
Was a bit shaky at the beginning of the match but quickly regained his usual composure and put in a very good shift before being replaced by Piqué at half-time.
Javier Mascherano – 7.5
Mallorca’s best chance in the match (when it was still 0-0) came from a Mascherano mistake, but his otherwise excellent performance more than makes up for it. He’s the leader of Barcelona’s backline in the absence of Puyol and Piqué.
Daniel Alves – 8.5
A vintage Alves performance if there ever was one. He was very active in the team’s offensive manoeuver with numerous one-twos with Messi down the right flank, and looked threatening during the entire 90 minutes. He assisted Messi’s third goal with an inch-perfect cross and scored the best goal of the night with a thunderous strike in the last minute.
Sergio Busquets – 8
Another excellent performance. As always, he kept it simple yet extraordinarily effective. His reading of the game and passing were flawless as usual and instrumental to Barcelona’s domination of this match.
Seydou Keita – 7
Keita might not be the most gifted player in the squad squad, but he always works hard and delivers a solid shift when called upon. Once again, he showed good passing and a very good work rate today, helping the team control the match. He won back several balls with good tackles and was great at stopping Mallorca in their tracks. He was even close to scoring with a long distance shot in the first half.
Thiago Alcantara – 7.5
A very good performance. Thiago is clearly proving to be an integral member of the squad. Even without Xavi or Iniesta (or even Cesc) there to help him today, he played a very good match; he was calm and composed in possession, showed great passing and an excellent work rate. He’s been improving with each match and he’s looking more and more like a typical La Masia star midfielder.
Isaac Cuenca – 8
Excellent performance, capped off with an excellent goal. He was involved in the two first goals and in most of Barcelona’s attacking play, having scored the fourth goal after calmly rounding the keeper. His crosses were also fantastic. Cuenca is definitely a great prospect for the future.
David Villa – 7
Showed an amazing work rate and great link-up play, especially with Lionel Messi, and had a good game overall. His reluctance to shoot let him down a bit, he could have scored if he had taken his chances to shoot more often.
Lionel Messi – 9
A superlative performance from the Argentine genius after two average (for his impossibly high standards) games in a row. He scored a hat trick in just 30 minutes and has now scored 199 goals with the Barcelona jersey. He’s a living legend.
Gerard Piqué – 7
Came in for Abidal at half-time and picked up where the Frenchman had left off. He was very solid at the back, and almost scored on a great chance near the end of the match.
Carles Puyol – 7
Came in for Sergio Busquets and looked very good along with Piqué at the heart of the defense.
Gerard Deulofeu – 6
Made his debut for Barcelona’s first team, but didn’t have a big impact on the game and lost the ball quite a few times, which should be expected since he’s only 17 (and became the third youngest player ever to make his debut for the first team, after Messi and Bojan). This should end up being a valuable experience for him though, and he’ll hopefully get some more chances throughout the season.
Editor’s note: These ratings have been written by Manuel Traquete. His thoughts can be followed @Manueltraquete.
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