FC Barcelona continued its seemingly unstoppable winning run in La Liga with a 2-4 victory at the Iberostar stadium in Mallorca, having now collected 31 points out of 33 possible. After a 3-0 lead at half time, there was a bit of a scare with Mallorca getting two goals in the first quarter of the second half, but the inevitable Lionel Messi settled things up with the fourth goal.
Here are the ratings for last night’s match:
Victor Valdés – 7
Had a great save in the first half to prevent Mallorca from opening the scoring, claimed a lot of crosses and had no blame at all in the two Mallorca goals.
Jordi Alba – 6.5
Had little to do defensively and didn’t get as involved in attack as usual either, only seldom combining with Tello on the left flank.
Gerard Piqué – 6.5
Had a good performance considering it was his first start in two months, but wasn’t as calm and assured as he usually is and the whole backline suffered because of it. Tito will expect the defensive stability brought by an in form Piqué to be recovered soon.
Javier Mascherano – 6.5
Like Piqué, he never looked as calm and assured as usual, wilting under pressure. It was a mistake of his that allowed Pereira to score for Mallorca and get them back into the match.
Daniel Alves – 7
Was very active in attack as usual, testing Mallorca’s keeper on quite a few occasions and combining with the team’s forwards, but was caught out defensively a few times, one of them leading to a goal.
Sergio Busquets – 7.5
Shielded the backline and distributed the ball as precisely and quickly as usual. It wasn’t one of his greatest performances, but still a very solid one. He was responsible for Mallorca’s penalty though.
Xavi Hernandez – 9
Had an excellent performance, pulling the strings in midfield all match long and capping it off with a fabulous free kick goal to open the scoring. Definitely the Man of the Match.
Cesc Fabregas – 7
Had quite a subdued performance. His passing was accurate but he didn’t take any risks with penetrating passes like he usually does and didn’t make the difference last night.
Cristian Tello – 7.5
Wreaked a lot of havoc down the left flank and scored an excellent goal to boot. His final ball often let him down, but he was still an ever dangerous threat to the Mallorca defense.
David Villa – 6
Missed a glorious chance to score from a Tello cross and generally wasn’t very involved in the match at all, had an extremely subdued performance and ended up being replaced by Sanchez in the second half.
Lionel Messi – 8.5
Scored a brace, thus beating Pelé’s record of goals in a single year, and wreaked havoc in the Mallorca defense by dropping deep to collect the ball and finding gaps in their defense. A performance worthy of the world’s best player.
Alexis Sanchez – 7.5
Came into the match for Villa and was quite active and dangerous during his 25 minutes on the pitch; assisted Messi’s deciding goal with a brilliant chest control.
Marc Bartra – N/A
Came into the match too late to make an impact.
Martin Montoya – N/A
Also came into the match in the dying minutes.
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: Pep Morata/MD