An enlightening high-five destroys Rayo

Posted by Francesc Tomas

Barcelona moved clear at the top of La LigaGettyImagesBarcelona moved clear at the top of La Liga

Barcelona managed an impressive 0-5 win against Rayo Vallecano at the Teresa Rivero on Matchday 9 of La Liga. David Villa, Lionel Messi (double), Xavi and Cesc Fabregas scored the goals for the Blaugranas, who enjoyed 56% of possession and attempted 14 shots, 10 of them on target. This result helps Tito Vilanova's side extend their lead over Real Madrid to eleven points in the overall standings, which Los Blancos can cut down to eight if they beat Mallorca.

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Barcelona thrash Rayo Vallecano


Player Ratings (0-10; 10=best)

Victor Valdes - 6 - Another clean sheet which will definitely help La Pantera on his way to regain full confidence. Helped the team with a couple of difficult saves.

Martin Montoya - 7 - Professional display, as usual. Joined attack freely but focused on ensuring his defensive responsibilities were well covered first. Assisted Messi after a quick combination with Pedro.

Adriano - 7 - Chosen as centre-back again in order to add much-needed speed to his rare partnership with Busquets. A decent performance, but I would have preferred to see upcoming youngster Marc Bartra being given some continuity after his great effort against Celtic in midweek.

Sergio Busquets - 7 - Adapted well to his more defensive role in central defence, which ensured the Blaugrana creative play started from further back. A convincing display in a relatively new position which shows why his polyvalence and constancy are such a valuable assets to the team.

Jordi Alba - 7 - Continuously overlapping from the left, effectively positioning himself as a winger. His work-rate and desire put continuous pressure on the rival defence, always looking a valuable threat. Assisted Xavi.

Alex Song - 6 - Continued to adapt to the Barcelona formation, taking his preferred defensive midfielder role. Some aggressive tackles, plenty of quick passes which ensured the ball kept flowing into more advanced positions.

Xavi Hernandez - 8 - Another remarkable effort by The Blaugrana Commander, who paced the match at his will by ensuring the pass-and-move philosophy was followed whenever needed. Scored his 50th La Liga goal after a quick combination with Alba.

Cesc Fabregas - 9 - Man Of The Match - As he has done recently, The Fab Four continued to show a lethal combination of passing, mobility and goal-scoring ability throughout the match, enhancing the overall team performance as a result. Assisted twice and even managed to score himself in what was further proof that, after many months of trying to find his rightful place at Barcelona, Cesc Fabregas is beginning to show why the club brought him back to the Camp Nou.

David Villa - 7 - After not enjoying much playing time this season, El Guaje was back to the starting line-up and, not surprisingly, was in the right place at the right time to score the valuable opener. His willingness and desire gave our attack that explosive edge the team have been missing at times. Let's hope Tito Vilanova finally realizes that the Asturian is the best goal-scoring alternative to Messi in the whole of his squad.

Lionel Messi - 8 - The unpredictable Argentinean genius moved freely in the final quarter of the pitch, dropping into midfield in order to run from deep whenever necessary. Constantly getting involved, always eager to make things happen. Scored a double which takes his total to 301 goals since his professional debut back in 2004. If there is a record to break in world football, be sure that Lionel Messi has either broken it already or is chasing it desperately. What a legend.

Pedro - 7 - Another solid, courageous attacking effort from one of Tito Vilanova's favourites, as shows the fact that he has played every game this season. Assisted Cesc. Good to see El Correcaminos Canario returning back to his best after a fairly disappointing season in 2011/12.

Substitutes:

Alexis Sanchez - 6 - Substituted Villa after 62 minutes. His unimpressive display showed why the Barcelona coach preferred El Guaje ahead of him in the starting eleven. Must pick up his form soon as, after 15 months at the Camp Nou, fans are beginning to wonder whether the €37 million investment will ever be justified.

Marc Bartra - 6 - Substituted Jordi Alba after 80 minutes. I would have loved to see him start after impressing in midweek, but it wasn't to be.

Jonathan Dos Santos - 6 - Substituted Xavi after 83 minutes. Good to see another La Masia youngster helping the team.

Coach:

Tito Vilanova - 7 - Decided to create another rather strange defensive combination forced by the ongoing defensive absences, which ended up paying off once again. With this victory, Pep Guardiola's successor has taken Barcelona to the club's best ever La Liga start.

Blaugrana Reaction

Tito Vilanova: "Being able to win 25 out of 27 points is not an easy feat. We could have tied a couple of our matches, but we fought until the end and we deserve the points we've won. It's important to win and not concede goals. We played a very good defensive game and we defended set pieces well. We know that they would pressure us high up the pitch and Busquets has a certain pause, tranquillity about him. In addition, Song played a fantastic game the other day in the defensive midfielder position and today he played an extraordinary match."

Cesc Fabregas: "We played our best game of the season. Rayo went toe-to-toe with us and they made it difficult for us to play out of the back. Their players went all out in the first half and that favoured us in the second, that's when the spaces started to open up."

Lionel Messi: "We feel really comfortable on the pitch. It's important that we keep on winning and we hope to continue on form. We're having really bad luck with injuries, but we're all playing at a high level. I'm very pleased that I'm receiving Golden Shoe award on Monday, but the reason I won it is because of everyone's efforts. This is a group award."

David Villa: "This was my first game at Vallecas. I had a good debut and I was able to score. We proved that we don't tire easily. The daily work is vital and we have the same attitude that we've always had. I'm very pleased with how everything is going, I was able to help the team and I'm getting more minutes each time we play."

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