FC Barcelona kept its perfect winning record in La Liga with a narrow yet somewhat comfortable (as Valencia didn’t create many chances) 1-0 win over Valencia. A ‘villain’ in midweek, Adriano was the hero today, scoring a magnificent goal to give Barça the three points.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
Victor Valdés – 7
Was almost a virtual spectator today, as he didn’t have any difficult saves to do in this match.
Adriano – 8.5
Redeemed himself perfectly from his midweek shocker at the Bernabeu, with a very good performance and a brilliant strike to give Barça the win. He was always dangerous going forward down the left flank (right flank in the second half) as well.
Javier Mascherano – 7
Had very little to do; the highlight of his performance was when he denied Jonas a potentially dangerous header, hurting himself in the process but saving the team from danger.
Gerard Piqué – 7
Also had little to do, but generally did a good job marking Soldado out of the match. His distribution was also quite good. Saw a needless yellow card early in the match.
Daniel Alves – 7
Was very active during the first half, providing a great attacking outlet down the right flank, but had to be replaced by Alba at the break due to a muscle problem.
Alex Song – 8
Had a very good first game as a starter for the club, breaking up play many times and showing great understanding with his teammates and the team’s passing rhythm. Showed he can be a good alternative to Busquets this season.
Xavi Hernandez – 7.5
Had a very tidy performance overall, despite an uncharacteristic loss of possession early in the second half that could have led to a dangerous situation for Valencia, and drew the biggest applause of the night with a brilliant nutmeg.
Cesc Fabregas – 6.5
His passing was tidy, but he seemed to lack any urgency and creativity – his confidence seems far from its highest point at the moment – and he missed two absolutely glorious chances to score.
Alexis Sanchez – 7.5
Was very involved in the team’s build-up play and showed great skill, often beating his man. Only his final ball was lacking a bit today.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7.5
Was a threat during the entire match, forcing a couple of very good saves from Diego Alves and always looking dangerous with the ball at his feet. He showed remarkable work ethic, applying relentless pressure on Valencia’s players off the ball.
Lionel Messi – 7.5
Was far from his majestic best, but was still a handful to the Valencia defense with his peerless dribbling, luring defenders to him and making up space for his teammates. Would have had an assist had Cesc’s shot not hit the post.
Jordi Alba – 7
Came in for Daniel Alves at half time to play against his former club and gave a good account of himself, being an ever active and dangerous presence down the left flank and combining very well with his teammates.
Andrés Iniesta – 7.5
The newly elected best player in Europe came into the match for Cesc Fabregas in the second half and made his presence felt with a couple of his trademark jinxing runs through the Valencia defense, injecting pace and creativity to the team’s attack.
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: Lluis Gene – AFP