Valencia v Barcelona player ratings as Ezequiel Garay scores an 8 and Lionel Messi gets a 7

Andy West 07:49 08/10/2018
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Valencia have disappointed this season

An Argentine tops our player ratings after getting on the scoresheet as Valencia and Barcelona shared the spoils at Mestalla…but it’s not the man you might expect.

Rather than Lionel Messi (who admittedly did rescue a point with a brilliant equaliser), home team defender Ezequiel Garay was the pick of the bunch, netting the opening goal and defending excellently.

Here’s the full rundown of all 27 players.

VALENCIA

Neto 6. Little to do other than retrieve Messi’s goal from his net, when he had no chance. Made a solid second half stop from the Argentine.

Piccini 6. Hard to recall if he ever crossed the halfway line as he was forced deep to defend against Alba and Coutinho, but did that well.

Gabriel 7. Steady and sensible in the centre of defence, holding his position well.

Garay 8. Netted the opener from close range, and did very well at the back with some strong interventions, including a key late tackle on Messi.

Gaya 6. Could have conceded a penalty with a silly challenge on Suarez. Flashed a drive just wide but generally forced to play more defensively than usual.

Soler 6. Booked for fouling Alba and his main task for the night was staying in place to cut out the opposition left-back’s low crosses.

Kondogbia 7. Fizzed an early shot inches wide and made a few dynamic bursts as well as doing a good job protecting his back four.

Parejo 6. Unable to assert himself against Arthur and Busquets but didn’t become frustrated, sticking to his defensive task with discipline.

Guedes 7. A major early threat, winning the corner for the opener, but was then forced off with an injury after a challenge from Coutinho.

Batshuayi 7. Twice came close early on during a powerful start, and he worked hard throughout, dropping deep to pressure the visiting midfielders.

Gameiro 5. Made one good run down the right to set up a chance for Cheryshev but had little further impact and was replaced by Rodrigo.

REPLACEMENTS

Cheryshev 6. Early entrant down the left wing and initially struggled, but improved to have a goalbound shot blocked and curled another just over.

Rodrigo 6. Came on for the last 25 minutes, replacing Gameiro, but was left chasing the ball as Valencia dropped deep to defend.

Coquelin 6. Replaced the tiring Kondogbia for the final stages as Valencia held on for a point, and fulfilled his task competently.

BARCELONA

Ter Stegen 7. Made a couple of good early saves to prevent Valencia going two-up, and was reduced to the role of a spectator after that.

Semedo 6. Vulnerable defensively, especially against Guedes, but a bright spark coming forward without managing to penetrate the penalty box.

Pique 6. Inadvertently assisted the opener and desperately struggled early on. Improved significantly from his dodgy start but still looked unconvincing.

Vermaelen 6. Failed to cut out corner for the opener and sometimes struggled against the strength of Batshuayi, but kept his concentration.

Alba 7. Endlessly available down the left flank, playing more like a winger than a full-back, but couldn’t quite find the killer pass for Messi.

Rakitic 6. Did a steady but unspectacular job on the right of midfield, maintaining his team’s shape and giving defensive support to Semedo.

Busquets 7. Led his team’s pressing to rapidly recover possession quickly, and used the ball as sensibly as always with subtle probing.

Arthur 7. Gradually imposed order after Barca’s wretched start, helping turn the game around with his safe passing. Perhaps sometimes too conservative.

Messi 7. Rifled home a brilliant equaliser and was always the biggest threat, forcing a save with a narrow-angled shot and hitting the side-netting.

Suarez 5. Haphazard with plenty of loose touches but found a neat layoff for Messi’s leveller. Booked for dissent and walked a tightrope after that.

Coutinho 6. Busy and bright in the inside left position, forever looking to cut inside and shoot – probably too much so because he became predictable and was replaced.

REPLACEMENTS

Dembele 6. Given the final ten minutes in place of Coutinho, and tried to get into advanced positions down the left without much joy.

Rafinha 6. Replaced Arthur with two minutes of normal time remaining, but had little opportunity to make an impact.

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