FC Barcelona remains in control of the proceedings in La Liga, but Sunday’s match was a lot closer than the scoreline might suggest, as Rayo had chances to make an impact on this match. In the end, Barcelona’s superiority prevailed and three more points were added to the club’s tally with a manita.
Here are the ratings for the match:
Victor Valdés – 7.5
Didn’t have much to do, but did well whenever called upon, especially in the beginning of the second half with some fine saves.
Jordi Alba – 7.5
Was a constant threat down the left flank and sent a perfect assist to Xavi’s goal. He
got beaten a few times by Rayo’s pacy wingers, but it never lead to anything of note.
Sergio Busquets – 8
Played at the back next to Adriano and had little problem dealing with Rayo’s rare attacking initiatives. Showed good positioning as well as his trademark excellent distribution.
Adriano Correia – 7
Didn’t look as comfortable as Busquets, which is understandable considering his lack of routines as a center back, but improved his positioning and composure as the match went on and had a good showing overall.
Martin Montoya – 7.5
Wasn’t as adventurous as Alba on the left, but was dangerous whenever he came forward, set up Messi’s goal with a great cross, and did a fine job defensively.
Alex Song – 7
Wasn’t quite as dynamic as Busquets usually is in his position, but had a more than decent performance, with quality passing and tackles.
Xavi Hernandez – 7
Scored his 50th goal in La Liga with an excellent finish, but had a mostly subdued performance otherwise, doing very well to hold on to possession but rarely showing any cutting edge in his passing, mostly playing it safe.
Cesc Fabregas – 9
Had a brilliant performance, capped off with a goal and two assists. His passing was quick, accurate and incisive and he always appeared in dangerous zones; his dynamic was the driving force of Barcelona’s attack.
Pedro Rodriguez – 8.5
Had an excellent performance in almost every way: was extremely active and drew a lot of fouls, assisted Cesc’s goal and basically set up Messi’s first with his run down the middle and pass to Montoya, and showed his usual willingness to press and work a lot off the ball. He only lacked a goal to cap off his excellent performance.
David Villa – 7.5
Scored the opener with an excellent finish and showed great chemistry with the rest of Barcelona’s attacking players until he was replaced in the second half. He still lacks his usual cutting edge, but he’s getting there match by match.
Lionel Messi – 9
Had yet another extraordinary performance, scoring two excellent goals and being a constant threat on and off the ball, wreaking constant havoc in Rayo’s defense as per usual. Scored the 300th and 301st goals of his football career.
Alexis Sanchez – 6.5
Came into the match for Villa in the middle of the second half but had very little impact on the match. Had a golden chance to score in the final minutes, but squandered it.
Marc Bartra – N/A
Didn’t play long enough to make an impact.
Jonathan dos Santos – N/A
Also came into the match in the dying minutes and had no time to make an 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: Claudio Chaves – MD