FC Barcelona managed to grind out a win in the last minutes at the Sanchez Pijuan and keep the team’s perfect La Liga record ahead of El Clásico. The match seemed lost after Barça went 2-0 down, but an incredible late rally saw Barcelona overcome the deficit, with Fabregas scoring a brace and David Villa scoring the winning goal in added time.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
Victor Valdés – 6.5
Could have perhaps done a bit better for the first goal, although it wasn’t an easy one to save, and had no chance whatsoever with the second. Had little work to do otherwise.
Jordi Alba – 6.5
Was pinned back by Navas for most of the match and had a lot of trouble dealing with the Sevilla winger. Became more of an offensive threat late in the second half, but his crosses ended up being mostly ineffective.
Javier Mascherano – 6.5
His partnership with Song was shaky again and the first goal came from a bad, albeit unlucky, clearance of his. He was mostly solid otherwise, with some important tackles and interceptions.
Alex Song – 5.5
He was caught of the position for the two Sevilla goals, and during most of the match really. He’s still adapting to his new center back position and it shows.
Daniel Alves – 6.5
Should have done better to close Trochowski for Sevilla’s opening goal, but had otherwise a tidy, if unspectacular, performance. He remained an ever active outlet on the offensive end of the pitch down the right flank.
Sergio Busquets – 6.5
Was great shielding the defense with his quick and accurate passing and distribution, but his only glaring mistake of the evening led to Sevilla’s second goal.
Xavi Hernandez – 7
His passing was as flawlessly accurate as usual, but he played it safe far too often, taking very few risks. He was not at his creative best today, far from it.
Cesc Fabregas – 8.5
One of the heroes of the day. He scored two goals, the first one both magnificent and crucial, and played a great match overall, with great passing and forward runs and excellent combinations with Messi.
Alexis Sanchez – 6
Got a few free kicks in dangerous positions, but was mostly unthreatening in this match. Never seemed close to scoring nor did he set up chances/space for his teammates to do so. A very subdued performance overall.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7
Worked very hard as usual and was quite active in Barcelona’s attack. Came very close to scoring right after Negredo’s second goal and combined very well with Alba down the left flank during the second half.
Lionel Messi – 8.5
Was the focal point of Barça’s attack as always, dropping back to lure defenders away from the box and acting as a playmaker as well as a goalscoring threat. Assisted Fabregas and Villa’s late goals and was very close to scoring himself on a few occasions, only denied by fantastic Palop saves.
Thiago Alcantara – 7.5
Came into the game for Sanchez with 20 minutes left and made an impact. His passing was incisive and penetrating and it was an interception of his that eventually led to Fabregas’s equalizer.
Cristian Tello – 6.5
He provided width and blistering pace after coming on, pinning Sevilla’s defense even further back, but his final ball was poor time and again.
David Villa – 8
He came into the match late, but it was still enough to save the day with a fantastic winning goal after a combination play with Messi. It shouldn’t take long until he becomes a regular starter again.
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: Claudio Chaves – MD