FC Barcelona bounced back after their loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup by defeating Valencia at the Camp Nou on Sunday. Tito Vilanova was forced to watch from the stands as he is serving a suspension for his ejection in the Osasuna game last week.
With the win, Barcelona is now in at the top of the La Liga table with nine points.
Alex Song made his starting lineup debut as the newest blaugrana lined up alongside Xavi and Cesc Fabregas, who replaced a resting Andres Iniesta in the lineup.
Roberto Soldado had a good shot in the 11th minute as he tried to make a long shot around Victor Valdes.
The lone goal came in the 23rd minute as a Barça corner kick was taken short, and Adriano took the ball from outside the box and curled in a wonder goal for the lead. Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves couldn’t do anything about it.
Lionel Messi struggled in the first half as he had a few bad passes and lost the ball a few times as well. He was able to find Fabregas in the 26th minute to nearly make it 2-0, but Fabregas’ chip went left of the post.
In the second half, Jordi Alba came in for Dani Alves. It was Alba’s first game against his former club. The Barcelona defense had to step it up in the second part as Valencia tried to counterattack with Soldado, Jonas and the rest of Valencia’s offense.
This was not Barcelona’s best game, to say the least, as Messi, Fabregas and Sanchez seemingly were not in sync and were continuously on the verge of making a big play happen. This is now the second straight Liga game that Barcelona struggle to score goals. Last week, it took Messi’s two goals in four minutes to overtake Osasuna, and now, it took a wonder goal from Adriano to defeat Valencia.
Let’s hope that Messi, Fabregas, Sanchez and the rest of the Barça offense gets things rolling after the international FIFA date this week.
Final score: Barcelona 1 - 0 Valencia
A win is a win, and I’ll take it. But, there’s always room for improvement.
The player of the game for me was Alex Song. He had a fantastic game as he was in the middle of things, disrupting the Valencia attack. He had complete control of the back midfield for most of the game as well as going back to help the Barça back line when needed.
His height is always a presence on corner kicks, both defending and on offense. I was surprised to see how quickly Song was able to adapt to this team, but it’s very well welcomed, and it will help Sergio Busquets get much deserved rest when needed.
It’s time to give out the individual player grades for FC Barcelona in their 1-0 victory over Valencia and move into the top of the La Liga table.