Barcelona returned to winning ways as they thrashed Valencia 5-2 at Camp Nou on Saturday night, with Ansu Fati and Luis Suarez starring.
Barcelona did not waste any time to get going, as teenage sensation Ansu Fati opened the scoring just two minutes into the game, netting his second in two matches. The 16-year-old turned provider for summer signing Frenkie de Jong five minutes later, as the Dutchman fired home from close range to make it 2-0.
Valencia struck back in the 27th minute through Kevin Gameiro, who then went on to force Marc-Andre ter Stegen into two saves as half-time arrived with the scoreline at 2-1. Six minutes into the second half, Barcelona had their two-goal cushion back as Gerard Pique was at hand to finish a rebound after Jasper Cillessen had denied Antoine Griezmann.
Substitute Luis Suarez, who replaced Fati at the hour mark, scored with a curling effort just a minute after coming on to make it 4-1. Griezmann was denied by Cillessen soon after, but the Frenchman then set up Suarez for Barcelona’s fifth in the 82nd minute to heap further misery on Los Che. Maxi Gomez scored a consolation goal for Valencia late in stoppage time.
♖ CHECKMATE!! Barça dominate from the outset and cruise past Valencia!
BARÇA: Ansu Fati (2') F. de Jong (7') Piqué (51') L. Suárez (61') L. Suárez (82')
VALENCIA: K. Gameiro (27') M. Gómez (90+2') pic.twitter.com/utNZN5wg0u
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 14, 2019
It was Barcelona’s second win of the season after they had beaten Real Betis with the same 5-2 scoreline on Matchday 2 last month. Here’s how we rated the performances of Ernesto Valverde’s men on Sunday night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
The German international made two stops to keep Gameiro out at 2-1, but had little to do apart from that. Left exposed by his defence, there was not a lot ter Stegen could have done for either of Valencia’s goals.
Nelson Semedo: 7/10
Having shaken off the ankle injury he picked up during the international break, the Portuguese right-back had a solid game against Valencia. Did well to contain his compatriot Goncalo Guedes, while being a constant outlet going forward. Struck the woodwork with a fine effort.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
The seasoned centre-back hasn’t looked all too solid at the back in the new season and it continued on Saturday against Los Che as he had some difficulties coping with the pace of Gameiro and Rodrigo at times. But, he came up with the goods at the opposite end, scoring Barcelona’s all important third goal early in the second half.
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
The Frenchman should have done better to stay with Gameiro in the lead-up to Valencia’s first goal in the first half. Was pretty solid for the rest of the game, but the late goal conceded showed that there are chinks in the armour that he and Barcelona need to address fast.
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
The Spaniard did not make a telling impact on the game, but did his job on the left side of Barcelona’s backline. Showed great energy and intent going up and down the pitch. Seemed to have struck up a good understanding with Ansu Fati.
Arthur Melo: 7/10
Arthur Melo vs Valencia (73’ 4:1):
73 minutes played
66 accurate passes
96% pass accuracy
3 key passes
3 (3) long balls
3 (5) ground duels won pic.twitter.com/SrlH5xjqKn
— IM10 (@imizgirFCB) September 14, 2019
The Brazilian international made his first start of the season after impressing in the 2-2 draw against Osasuna last time out. And he put in a commendable display against Valencia, controlling the proceedings for Barcelona from the middle of the park. Moved the ball well with his crisp passing, created chances. Should be starting week in week out ahead of Sergi Roberto.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Solid as ever at the base of Barcelona’s three-man midfield. Busquets read the danger well and did his part to snuff it out for large parts of the game. Kept things ticking over in the middle of the park. Calm and composed as ever, helping the La Liga champions assert control in midfield.
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
After a couple of underwhelming performances, the big summer signing finally showed his immense quality on Saturday night. Set up the opening goal with a neat pass, before doubling Barcelona’s lead with a well-struck finish. Sharp movement, accurate passing – it was by far de Jong’s best performance for his new team and fans will demand more of the same moving forward.
Carles Perez: 6/10
Continuing to get an extended run in the side due to the unavailability of Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele, the Barcelona academy graduate did not carry as much threat as his fellow attackers did on the night. Worked hard, played with great intent, but lacked the incision and the cutting edge to hurt Valencia.
Antoine Griezmann: 6.5/10
Not the best of the performances from the World Cup winner, but did enough to help Barcelona to get over the line. His shot was saved by Cillessen, leading to Pique’s tap in for the third, while he set up Suarez for the Catalans’ final goal of the game. Quiet, but not completely ineffective.
Ansu Fati: 9/10
It has been a whirlwind of a month for the 16-year-old Ansu Fati. Having scored his first club goal in the last game, the teenage wonderkid was at it again on Saturday night, scoring the opener with a crisp finish, before setting de Jong up for the second with a fine cut-back.
The 16-year-old sent shivers down the spines of Valencia defenders each time he was on the ball, with the sombrero he pulled on Daniel Wass being a major highlight. Could have had a couple more goals before being taken off at the hour mark. Exceptional performance.
Luis Suarez: 8/10
Made his return from injury, replacing Ansu Fati at the hour mark. Made an instant impact as he scored Barcelona’s fourth with a clever finish before doubling his tally on the night with another well-hit effort late in the game. His return will be a big boost for Barcelona ahead of their Champions League encounter against Borussia Dortmund.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
Replaced de Jong with 20 minutes left on the clock. An assured little cameo from the Croatian international who will be keen on forcing his way back into the starting XI.
Arturo Vidal: 6/10
On for Arthur in the 73rd minute. Added energy and dynamism to the midfield.