Barcelona dropped points on the road for the second consecutive time with a 1-1 draw at Mestalla. The performance and result were far from ideal, but still it is hardly a dent in the team’s title aspirations. Lionel Messi scored as usual, from the spot.
Here are the ratings for last night’s match:
Victor Valdés – 8
Could have perhaps done better in Banega’s goal, but ended up saving the team from defeat with some great saves including an incredible double save in the dying minutes.
Jordi Alba – 8
Was very active against his old club, putting in a lot of quality crosses and being very solid at the back as well.
Gerard Piqué – 7
Was good enough at the back, preventing a few dangerous situations for Valencia. Was unfortunate to basically assist Banega’s goal though.
Javier Mascherano – 5.5
Had a poor game, looking generally uncomfortable and out of sync with the pace of the match. Was replaced by Puyol early in the second half.
Daniel Alves – 6
Was not much of a factor going forward unlike usual, which partially explains the team’s attacking struggles. It was not one of his best performances.
Sergio Busquets – 7
It wasn’t his most dynamic performance, but it was still a good one. He always made himself available for a pass and was quite calm and composed in possession.
Xavi Hernandez – 7
A bit like Busquets, he wasn’t at his best, but still had a good match. He wasn’t as decisive as he can be, but was still excellent in possession and distributing the ball in midfield as he usually is.
Cesc Fabregas – 6
Could never get very involved in the match. His usually excellent forward passes and link up play with Messi and co. were not a factor today as he could never get himself free in the right positions to unleash his magic.
Andrés Iniesta – 8
Clearly the best attacking player on the pitch last night as his touch, vision and creativity drove the team forward on multiple occasions. He combined very well with Alba on the left and was involved in almost everything the team did going forward.
Pedro Rodriguez – 6
Did his usual excellent work off the ball, but struggled greatly to make an impact up front, frequently coming up short against his marker Cissokho.
Lionel Messi – 7
Had a strangely subdued performance after from the penalty he scored. As always though, he still had an impact: his pass led to the penalty and he created a few more situations that could have been dangerous with better execution.
Carles Puyol – 7
Came into the match early in the second half and really shored up the defense, especially improving the team’s performance on the air despite his short stature. He has shown the same good form he has all season.
David Villa – 7
Came into the match with 20 minutes left and was very lively, almost scoring the winner with a shot that only barely missed the target.
Thiago Alcantara – N/A
Replaced Xavi during stoppage time.
Image: PEP MORATA