Rating the Barcelona Players Against Real Valladolid
With La Liga sealed and Valladolid safe from relegation, the game took on a low-key atmosphere.
As the rain fell on the Camp Nou, it became clear that most fans had turned up for the postgame celebrations, rather than the fixture itself.
The visitors pressed early as both teams exchanged shots on goal, but a horribly sloppy pass from Jesús Rueda allowed Xavi to put Pedro Rodriguez through on goal for the opener.
Former Barcelona youth Marc Valiente then inadvertently turned a corner into the Valladolid net before halftime.
The Catalans continued to enjoy possession after the break, but failed to convert their chances.
Victor Perez's late penalty proved some consolation for La Pucela before the final whistle and the long-awaited presentation of the league champions for 2012-2013.
Here is how Barcelona's performers fared.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Victor Valdes 6/10: Playing in his 500th game for Barcelona, the keeper had very little to do. Valdes came charging out of his box in typical fashion to make a great clearance before halftime, but was otherwise a spectator as Valladolid struggled to put attacks together.
Martin Montoya 6.5/10: The 22-year-old brought down Manucho for the penalty, but replays would suggest he was unlucky, having clearly gotten to the ball first. He demonstrated his comfort on the ball and looked very dangerous when venturing forward.
Gerard Pique 6/10: The graceful centre-back had hardly anything to do defensively and thus took the opportunity to show his quality on the ball. Pique ventured out of defence a number of times to instigate attacking play and launched some impressive long balls.
Javier Mascherano 6/10: The Argentine returned from a knee injury and, like his defensive partner, was barely threatened. Mascherano knocked some nice passes about the field, but did nothing to suggest the Catalans should not spend big on their defence this summer.
Jordi Alba 7/10: The Spanish international was tireless on the left flank, covering acres of space. The fullback looked very sharp on the ball and always provided an outlet for Andres Iniesta, managing an impressive 131 touches. Unfortunately, Alba could not quite get beyond the defensive line and provide the final ball like he so often does.
Sergio Busquets 6/10: Busquets has been one of Barca's most consistent performers again this season, and while unspectacular on the night, he did nothing wrong—he rarely does. Showed one tremendous piece of skill early and then kept things simple in the middle of the park before Tito Vilanova allowed him to put his feet up early.
Xavi 6/10: It is a little perplexing why Vilanova decided Xavi should start in this dead-rubber. Clearly the manager wanted to honour his title heroes by playing a strong team, but Xavi could probably do with a holiday right now. El Maestro played a part in both goals and went about business as usual, but if Barca want the 33-year-old to stay on for years to come, he must be managed more carefully than he has this season.
Andres Iniesta 7/10: El Ilusionista hardly kicked out of first gear but still managed to be a constant threat, drifting into pockets of space and dribbling at any given opportunity. Iniesta did not quite have the end product, but dominated in midfield.
Pedro Rodriguez 6/10: A mixed night for the winger despite getting on the score sheet. His goal would have been saved by a better goalkeeper, and he then struggled to put away a number of great chances, even missing an unprotected goal in the second half. Pedro threatened, but is far from the clinical forward that burst on the scene a few years ago.
Cesc Fabregas 5.5/10: Slotting in the "false-nine" role, Cesc linked well with the midfield but does not possess the goal threat to play there consistently. The former Arsenal captain showed creativity at times and set Pedro up with a great chance on the back of a superb run down the flank. However, he struggled to get in behind the defence or threaten the goal himself.
David Villa 6/10: Barca's No. 7 looked sharp at times, but things just did not quite come off for David Villa all night. He struggled to involve himself and looked a bit off the pace. Thus it came as no surprise that he could not quite put away the chances that fell to him. El Guaje has been a class act in the past, but his time is up with the Blaugrana.
Thiago Alcantara 6.5/10: Thiago deserved a start considering his recent form, but had to wait until the hour mark to enter the fray when he replaced Alex Song. The young, effervescent midfielder had an immediate impact and upped the tempo in the middle of the park with his energy and quick passing. Expect the 22-year-old to start in the last two games of the season.
Jonathan dos Santos 4.5/10: Jonathan can be ecstatic with the fact that he actually got to play for once, but his actual performance left a bit to be desired. The Mexican did not really offer much in midfield and then lost the ball with sloppy play, which led to the concession of a late penalty. He will be disappointed with that, but he was never going to be here next season anyway. Was he?
Cristian Tello N/A: Only given a few minutes on the pitch, but Tello always manages to make some impact with his pace. He will hope for more opportunities next year after an impressive season.
All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com.
What were your thoughts on the game? Who deserves a chance in the final two weeks?
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