First session without the internationals

Fontàs and Puyol / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Barça have begun a week of training that will be marked by the absence of the 17 players called up for international duty

Just five senior players were on hand for this morning’s training session -Puyol, Thiago, Fontàs, Pinto and Dos Santos – plus 10 from Barça B

Training resumed on Tuesday morning after Sunday night’s narrow victory over Valencia and a day’s holiday on Monday. With the league programme taking a break in favour of the international fixtures, just a handful of players were available.

Ten players from Barça B

With only five players reporting for training from the first team squad-Puyol, Thiago, Fontàs, Pinto and Dos Santos- Vilanova took the opportunity to include ten youngsters from the reserves: Quintillà, Miguel Angel, Masip, Gustavo, Patric, Roman, Luis Alberto, Sergi Gomez, Espinosa and Dongou.

The next training session will be on Wednesday at 10 am. However, Tito Vilanova will be away in Nyon at the 14th UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum.

Agostinho Cá out of action for seven days

Agostinho Cá /PHOTO: Arxiu FCB.
The Barça B player Aghostinho Cá will be sidelined for a week after his sustained a muscle injury during today’s training session

Agostinho Cá pulled the rector femoris of his left leg during this afternoon’s training session at the Miniestadi after this weekend’s victory over Sabadell (2-0).

Medical tests confirm that the Portuguese player will be our of action for seven days.

Xavi’s nutmeg on Guardado

Els jugadors del Barça, feliços per la victòria / FOTO: Miguel Ruiz - FCB
Exquisite skill from the Catalan midfielder who left the Valencia man stranded with a lovely back heeled nutmeg.
Xavi put in a great performance against Valencia with 115 successful passes (96% accuracy) and winning possession back five times.

Midfielder Xavi Hernández was one of the best players in Barça’s 1-0 win over Valencia at the Stadium on Sunday night, with another exhibition of controlled, first touch football to dictate the rhythm of the game with his trademark leadership. The Catalan maestro converted 96% of his attempted passes to record 115 successful passes, as well as recovering possession five times and receiving five fouls.

“It’s just another footballer’s tool”

But more than all those impressive stats, the fans who were at the Camp Nou on Sunday will surely always remember a single piece of brilliance from the Catalan. On 22 minutes, Xavi was being pressured close to the line by the Valencia player Guardado who was right behind him. Xavi then played a superb back heeled nutmeg to relieve the pressure, explaining after the game: “I just saw that he had his legs apart – I was in an unusual position and I needed to do something and it came off. It’s just another footballer’s tool”.

Third Liga win in numbers

PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
FC Barcelona had twice as many shots on target as Valencia, and have won their first three league games for the first time in three years

• FC Barcelona have got nine points from their first three Liga fixtures for the first time since the 2009/10 season, the second under Josep Guardiola.

• Tito Vilanova is the eighth manager in club history to have got the team off to such a perfect start in his first season in charge, the last one being Louis van Gaal in 1997.

• The win is Barça’s sixth in a row against Valencia at the Camp Nou, a fixture in which they have not dropped a point since 2006/07 (1-1).

• Although only one goal was scored, the statistics show that FC Barcelona were by far the superior side. They had more shots (13 compared to 6), shots on target (5 to 2) and total passes (792 to 407).

• It was a special night for Jordi Alba, who came on for the injured Alves to face the club he only left a few months ago. Another former Valencia man, David Villa, finally didn’t get to play.

• With Busquets on the bench, Valdés and Messi are now the only players that have started every official match of the Vilanova era. They have played the full 90 minutes of every game so far.

• However, those three, plus Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro and Jordi Alba, have appeared at some point in every official game played to date.

• The Valencia match was also Alex Song’s first at the Camp Nou. Of his 67 passes, 61 were good and he made 5 good tackles.

• In the fifth official match of the season, Valdés kept his first clean sheet. It was also the first game in which Messi failed to score.