FC Barcelona started its Copa del Rey campaign with a 0-3 win at Alavés, which makes the second leg at Camp Nou pretty much a mere formality. Perhaps unexpectedly, Tito Vilanova played a very strong XI and Barcelona completely
dominated the hosts.
Here are the ratings for Tuesday’s match:
José Manuel Pinto – 7
Had almost nothing to do in this match, but made some routine saves whenever called upon, and did not compromise.
Martin Montoya – 7
Was very active in attack and sent in quite a few dangerous crosses, but was somewhat negligent in his defensive duties, although nothing dangerous ever came out of it fortunately.
Marc Bartra – 7.5
Had a very solid and composed performance next to Mascherano in the center of defense. Although he wasn’t troubled much, he showed impeccable positioning, calm, and composure at the back.
Javier Mascherano – 7.5
Didn’t have much to do, but put in some quality tackles and showed good positioning and understanding with Bartra all throughout the match.
Daniel Alves – 8
Had an excellent return to action, dominating the entire right flank with his trademark endless energy. Assisted Cesc’s goal and could have assisted a few more had his teammates, namely Sanchez, not been wasteful in front of goal.
Sergio Busquets – 8
Showed impeccable passing and quick, accurate distribution as usual. Kept a low profile during the match, but did his work quietly and efficiently.
Sergi Roberto – 7
Got a perhaps surprising start in midfield and played a quite decent match; he didn’t really impose his influence on the game and was mostly very conservative, but his passing was secure and accurate and he had some nice dribbling runs.
Andrés Iniesta – 9
Man of the Match. Set up Villa’s opener, scored an absolute stunner of his own and was a constant nightmare to the Alavés defense with his amazing dribbling around the box and probing for openings in their defense.
Cesc Fabregas – 8
Wasn’t much of a factor in the first half, but really came into his own in the second half; not only did he assist Iniesta’s fabulous goal and score a goal of his own, but he was also far more dynamic and incisive with his passing.
Alexis Sanchez – 6.5
Played a good match, but was far too wasteful in front of goal, missing quite a few glorious chances to score. He did score a legitimate goal which was wrongly disallowed for offside. His confidence doesn’t seem to be high at the moment.
David Villa – 8
Scored the opener with a neat finish and caused problems for the Alavés defense up until he was replaced by Tello with his movement and constant runs in behind the defense.
Cristian Tello – 7
Replaced Villa in the second half and made an impact on the match with his pace, coming close to scoring on one occasion.
Alex Song – 7.5
Replaced Bartra with 30 minutes left and had a very solid showing, very assured in his passing and with quality tackles.
Jonathan dos Santos – N/A
Came into the match too late to make a real impact.
Editor’s note: 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 Credit: Alvaro Barrientos – AP