Barcelona had one of their best performances of the season, completely dismantling Valencia and winning 5-1 at Camp Nou. Los Ché scored first in the early stages of the match, but an inspired team performance and a poker from Lionel Messi secured yet another home win for Barca.
Here are the ratings for today’s match.
Victor Valdés – 7
Could have done more to prevent Piatti’s goal, but had a solid performance otherwise. He had a decisive save in the second half, denying Feghouli the equalizer for Valencia.
Éric Abidal – 7
Didn’t close down on Feghouli properly, allowing him to send him the cross that would result in Valencia’s first goal, but after that he gradually improved and ended up containing Valencia’s attacks down his flank easily enough.
Carles Puyol – 8
Led the defense as usual and clearly won his duel with Roberto Soldado. Had a pretty good performance overall.
Gerard Piqué – 7.5
Had very little to deal with, but did well enough whenever called upon. It was his best performance in the past few weeks.
Martin Montoya – 7
Should have closed down Piatti in Valencia’s goal. Started the game nervously, making some mistakes, but gradually gained confidence and improved, showing some glimpses of Daniel Alves in the attacking third.
Sergio Busquets – 9
A brilliant performance, capped off with a brilliant assist to Messi. His reading of the game and distribution were excellent, as were some of his creative passes.
Cesc Fabregas – 8
Missed several great scoring chances, but had a very good performance apart from that, finally showing almost perfect sync with his midfield teammates. His passing has greatly improved as well.
Andrés Iniesta – 9.5
An absolutely stunning performance from Don Andrés, who pulled the strings during the 90 minutes. Brilliant dribbling, vision, passing… Andrés produced pieces of sheer brilliance time and again and would have been the Man of the Match if not for that inevitable little Argentine.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7.5
Ran his heart out and showed tremendous work ethic as usual, but he’s still not as sharp as desired and his final ball was lacking.
Alexis Sanchez – 8.5
Had an excellent performance, showing great work ethic and wreaking havoc in the Valencia defense during the 90 minutes, creating space with his movement for Messi and co. to exploit.
Lionel Messi – 10
No explanations required. The world’s best player scored four goals and completely destroyed Valencia’s defense from start to finish, displaying his incredible array of skills. It’s because of performances like this one that Messi is regarded as one of the best players ever to grace this sport.
Thiago Alcantara – 7
Came in for Cesc Fabregas and put in a solid shift, although he didn’t really have a great influence on the final outcome.
Christian Tello – 8
Came in for Pedro late in the second half and was a constant threat to the Valencia defense, beating his man and sending in dangerous crosses/shots. Messi’s third goal was pretty much created by him.
Xavi Hernandez – 8
Had only a brief cameo, but showed his class with an absolutely stunning goal in the dying minutes.
These ratings have been written by Manuel Traquete. He is a lifelong FC Barcelona supporter and a freelance football writer who shares his thoughts @Manueltraquete
Image: Manel Montilla [MD]