Barcelona player ratings vs Rayo Vallecano: Gavi struggles for sloppy Blaugrana in shock defeat

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Gavi Barcelona Rayo on ground 2022-23
Xavi's side conceded twice and saw a comeback attempt fall short as they continued their stumble towards the Liga title

Barcelona were battered by an energetic Rayo Vallecano press, while their midfield trio endured a miserable night in a 2-1 loss that saw title celebrations put on hold.

Alvaro Garcia opened the scoring for Rayo inside 20 minutes, blasting his shot into the bottom corner after a well-worked counter. Barcelona thought they had an equaliser when Robert Lewandowski put the ball in the net, but the striker was narrowly offside.

Fran Garcia added a Rayo second, the reported Real Madrid summer signee bursting through on goal to finish unmarked.

And although Lewandowski pulled one back late with a powerful strike, Barcelona were made to rue a sloppy performance. It is only a matter of time before Xavi's side are officially La Liga champions. But with just one win in their last five, they aren't making it easy.

GOAL rates Barcelona's players from Estadio de Vallecas...

  1. Goalkeeper & Defence
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    Goalkeeper & Defence

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen (6/10):

    Appeared unlikely to start after needing treatment during warmups. Made two excellent saves and couldn't do much about either goal, but was poor in his distribution.

    Jules Kounde (4/10):

    Woeful in some of his passing. He should probably move to centre-back at some point.

    Ronald Araujo (6/10):

    One wonderful bit of defending prevented the home side from taking a 2-0 lead when it had been a one-goal contest. But he was nowhere to be found as Rayo burst through the middle for their second.

    Marcos Alonso (5/10):

    Preferred to Eric Garcia, though it's tough to see why. Another poor showing at centre-back.

    Alejandro Balde (6/10):

    Sloppy in his passing but exciting on the run. A player still learning.

  2. Midfield
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    Pedri (6/10):

    Wonderful in possession for spells. Was slightly fortunate not to give away a penalty. Tired in the second half. Not back to full fitness yet.

    Frenkie de Jong (5/10):

    Deployed as a No.6 with little midfield protection either side of him. Battered by Rayo's press, caught out of position for both goals.

    Gavi (4/10):

    Picked up his obligatory yellow card, didn't offer much on the ball. Always does the dirty work well, but needs to offer more creativity in games like these. Live and learn.

  3. Attack
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    Raphinha (6/10):

    Another mixed showing. Some powerful runs, but lacks quality in the final third.

    Robert Lewandowski (8/10):

    Had the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but saw it ruled out for offside. Smacked one in to give Barca hope late on. Much-needed relief to snap a goal drought.

    Ferran Torres (4/10):

    Seventeen touches in 57 miserable minutes.

  4. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Jordi Alba (6/10):

    His presence seemed to calm the nerves, but he didn't do much on the ball to impact play.

    Ansu Fati (6/10):

    Made some good runs, created a chance or two.

    Franck Kessie (5/10):

    Really should have started to add some strength to midfield. He was disappointing when introduced.

    Eric Garcia (N/A):

    No time to make an impact.

    Pablo Torre (N/A):

    A few nice touches.

    Xavi (3/10):

    Made the odd decision of going with a Gavi-Pedri-De Jong midfield three. His side were stunned early, and spent the rest of the proceedings trying to claw their way back into it. It was always going to be a tricky night in front of a hostile crowd, but Xavi got his tactics wrong to continue a poor end to an otherwise successful domestic season.