Lionel Messi was the difference in Sunday night's game.
Xavi Hernandez's omission may have surprised many but was another master stroke by manager Gerardo Martino, who adequately compensated for his absence in Barca's 3-2 victory.
Where former manager Tito Vilanova would have likely played his strongest squad in every game and only replaced or rotated when injury forced the change upon him, Martino has been much more proactive.
Giving certain players much-needed rest is a long-term vision which surely bodes well for the overall health of this Barcelona side.
Let's take a look at six things we learned from Sunday's match.
Victor Valdes was in great form.
Both goalkeepers covered themselves in glory over the course of the game.
Barcelona's captain for the night, Victor Valdes, looked sharp and composed throughout, with every pass or rollout looking assured.
His full-length fingertip save at 85 minutes to turn Jonas' shot onto the post was straight out of the top drawer.
By contrast, Diego Alves, in the first half certainly, was decidedly shaky. His rushed clearances kept putting his defenders under pressure, and there was a distinct lack of calmness from the home side's No. 1.
He more than redeemed himself in the second half.
On another night, Lionel Messi may well have claimed a double hat-trick. Alves' reflexes, especially when called upon via a double save from Jordi Alba and Messi at the 87-minute mark, ensured the score remained at 2-3.
Still struggling on set pieces
Any set play still seems to cause Barca problems and send the defence into a blind panic.
Witness the headed goal from Helder Postiga. What on earth were Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves, two of the smallest men on the pitch, doing challenging him?
Gerard Pique was at least three feet away from Postiga as he guided home and headed thin air. An embarrassing and amateur miscue from supposedly one of the world's best defenders.
It was Pique again who was found wanting at 73 minutes as he misjudged a flighted ball. Luckily the reliable Javier Mascherano was available to sweep up the danger.
In the last minute as the home side sent over a corner, Costa was given a free header which could've seen the points shared.
Surely this must tell Gerardo Martino something?
Messi gave a masterful display.
Cesc Fabregas' sublime pass at 10 minutes sent Messi away; his speed and strength too much for the covering defenders.
As we approached half-time, Messi found himself in the zone, when he is virtually unplayable and everything he seems to touch turns to gold.
Woeful defence by the home side saw the Argentine in for an easy second and some great unselfish play by Neymar saw Messi complete yet another hat-trick for the Blaugrana.
His passing and general linkup play was on point as usual, and even when surrounded by four or five players, his ability to play himself out of the tightest situations was a joy to behold.
Xavi wasn't missed.
For Barcelona fans not used to seeing their star players completely dropped from the squad, this was another lesson from Gerardo Martino about squad rotation and depth, despite their relative shortcomings in central defence.
Aside from the first few minutes of each half, Barca bossed the midfield.
Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas ensured that Xavi Hernadez's creativity wasn't missed, and Sergio Busquets was, well, Sergio Busquets. Carrying out the dirty work with his usual aplomb.
Valencia couldn't get a foothold in the game thanks to this triumvirate, as Ever Banega was especially wasteful for the home side in the middle of the park.
Such was Barcelona's superior movement that Valencia's trio of Javi Fuego, Sergio Canales and Banega were routinely pulled way out of position to allow the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar an easy passage toward goal.
Their frustration was clear and the same led to needless fouls throughout.
Miroslav Dukic ensured his team remained competitive.
Joao Pereira worked the right side like a dynamo throughout the 90 minutes, and it's fair to suggest it was his industry that kept Jordi Alba's forays to an absolute minimum.
In fact, Alba didn't even get to make one of his trademark runs until the beginning of the second half—so well was he contained.
With Dorlan Pabon replicating his work rate on the left side, to find yourselves three goals down after 40 minutes because of sloppy errors must've felt like a real kick in the teeth for Miroslav Dukic's men.
It is to their immense credit that by half-time, they were back in the match and made a game of it right up to the end.
Helder Postiga capped a fine individual display with a brace.
His first goal was stunning in its execution, and his headed second was the mark of a confident, predatory marksman.
Postiga was everywhere as Valencia's go-to man throughout.
He worked well with Pabon on the left side and Joao Pereira down the right, and unfortunately for Valencia the space that Postiga's intelligent runs were creating were not taken advantage of.
On the evidence of this hard-working performance, Soldado will not be missed.