Ansu Fati was brilliant on return while Sergino Dest and Memphis Depay impressed as well as Barcelona beat Levante 3-0 at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Barcelona were coming on the back of three forgettable results on the trot in La Liga, but they did not look like a team that had been listless in the past week or so. The Blaugrana indeed made a bright start to the game, with Memphis Depay putting them ahead by converting a penalty after being brought down inside the box by Nemanja Radoja.
Shortly after, the hosts doubled their advantage with a fantastic team move which was finished by Luuk de Jong after collecting the ball from Sergino Dest. Thereafter, Barcelona continued to dominate the proceedings but could not really manage to get past Aitor Fernandez, who was rock solid in the Levante goal.
Post the interval, it was more of the same, with Barcelona firmly in control of the proceedings while Levante could not even force a save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. In fact, the biggest moment of the second half was the return of Ansu Fati, who was lively off the bench and scored a wondrous long range goal to round off the win. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ronald Koeman’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
One of the easiest outings of his career for ter Stegen, who had just a couple of saves to make all game, although the second of those was a classy one. As usual, though, his output on the ball was top notch, with the Barcelona no. 1 misplacing just three passes all game.
Oscar Mingueza: 8/10
Deployed as the right-back, Mingueza made an impact on both ends of the pitch. The 22-year-old won three duels while making three tackles and was never really troubled by Gonzalo Melero. Going forward he was a reliable outlet, creating a couple of big chances while showing that he has a lot to offer from the right-back slot as well.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
Played a key role in ensuring Barcelona did not slip up on the rare occasions when Levante charged forward. Won four duels while hardly ever losing possession. However, he ought to have converted a chance that came his way in the first half, instead missing from point-blank range.
Eric Garcia: 7/10
A surprise starter ahead of the in-form Ronald Araujo, Garcia held his own for the most part apart from one or two hairy moments. The youngster made five clearances while winning each of the duels in the air, proving to be solid in the air. As ever, he was also precise with the ball at his feet, completing 94 percent of his attempted passes.
Sergino Dest: 9/10
Once again starting as a left-back, Dest was simply brilliant against Levante. A constant outlet down the left flank, the former Ajax trainee posed the biggest threat in the final third for Barcelona alongside Memphis Depay and linked up superbly with the Dutchman. The standout moment for him, though, was the run and touch he showed leading up to Luuk de Jong’s goal.
Sergino's Dest game by numbers vs. Levante:
92% pass accuracy
5 take-ons attempted
5 take-ons completed
3 chances created
A dominant performance. pic.twitter.com/a5SuJnaBOR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 26, 2021
Nico Gonzalez: 7/10
Part of a largely young midfield unit, Nico Gonzalez showed just why he is getting a lot of faith this season, and just why Barcelona were desperate to retain his services. The 19-year-old saw a lot of the forward movement go through him, and he retained a brilliant pass completion rate of 96 percent. Even set up a half chance while winning seven duels.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Busquets used all of his experience and more to get a complete stangle-hold on the proceedings for Barcelona. The veteran midfielder completed 92 percent of his passes while winning each of the seven duels he contested. Job well done.
The starts are piling up for Gavi, who once again took his place in the middle of the park. And the teenage prodigy was in his elements again, hardly losing the ball while progressing play smartly. Ought to have finished off a promising chance, though, which was his only real blemish in an otherwise solid performance.
Philippe Coutinho: 6/10
Drafted in the starting lineup in place of Yusuf Demir, Coutinho showed that he can still offer a fair bit to the team, even though he barely did anything in way of creation. Retained possession well but also lost the ball needlessly at times. Still needs to do more to usurp Yusuf Demir.
Luuk de Jong: 7/10
A lot has been said about how de Jong does not add a lot of value to the team. However, the Dutch international was top notch in his display against Levante, holding the ball well while also showing remarkable close control when he collected the ball from Dest before finding the back of the net.
2 – Two different Dutch 🇳🇱 players (Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong) have scored in the same LaLiga game for the first time since March 2009 in Athletic-Real Madrid at San Mamés (Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Arjen Robben). Orange. pic.twitter.com/4fCK14kTSt
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 26, 2021
Memphis Depay: 8/10
A brilliant performance by Depay, who was relentless in his push in the final third. The Dutchman never shied from taking the opposition defender on but was incredibly unlucky to not come away from the game with a brace at the very least. Still, did well to earn the penalty and convert it and was involved in the move leading up to Ansu Fati’s goal.
Riqui Puig: 7/10
On for Coutinho, Puig did well to recycle possession and lost the ball just thrice in the final half an hour in the game. However, while he progressed the ball well, the Spaniard could not manage to create anything of note. Still, managed to keep Barcelona in control of the proceedings.
Ansu Fati: 10/10
ANSU FATI SCORES ON HIS RETURN 💥 pic.twitter.com/vlFSMdeCIR
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 26, 2021
The loudest reception of the day from the Barcelona fans present at Camp Nou was not reserved for Depay or Luuk de Jong. Instead, it was Ansu Fati who got this pop when introduced late on. And the teenage prodigy was lively off the bench, even scoring a goal late on to cap off a memorable return with a peach of a finish from long range. A perfect 10 for showing fight and determination to make the comeback possible.
Yusuf Demir: N/A
On for Gavi, Demir was a bright spark in the final stage of the match and posed a fair bit of threat.
Ronald Araujo: N/A
Introduced with just ten minutes left, Araujo helped the game out late on without much of a fuss.
Clement Lenglet: N/A
A late introduction, Lenglet helped see the game out.