Ansu Fati and Memphis Depay combined well as FC Barcelona came from a goal down to beat Valencia 3-1 at Camp Nou on Sunday.
FC Barcelona showed signs of life, securing a vital 3-1 victory over Valencia. The win puts an end to a run of two back-to-back defeats in all competitions, helping the club climb to seventh in La Liga, with a game in hand over league leaders Real Sociedad.
It was an entertaining game for neutrals as both sides tried their best to breach the opposition defences. Barcelona did make a poor start, as they conceded a fifth-minute strike from Jose Gaya. But the hosts recovered quickly through some delightful football, which channelled their older self.
They had the goals to show for it as well, with Ansu Fati securing an equaliser in the 13th minute by linking up with Memphis Depay. He then won a penalty just before half-time, allowing Depay to convert the spot-kick and help Barcelona take the lead.
In the second half, Valencia pushed hard for the equaliser, often bombarding the Barcelona defence and were even perhaps unlucky not to score the goal. Their inability to find the back of the net cost them in the end, with substitute Philippe Coutinho netting the third goal for Barcelona, effectively securing all three points.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will rate the Barcelona players in their vital win over Valencia this weekend.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
It was another hit and miss performance from Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who was way too incompetent in dealing with Gaya’s long range effort, as he conceded the early goal. He did make a strong save to deny Carlos Soler in the second half while also denying Goncalo Guedes. Recovered well after a sloppy start.
Jose Luis Gayà: “Ter Stegen showed his quality today, with some good saves. He is very important for them.” pic.twitter.com/iVQjBln3jf
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) October 17, 2021
Sergi Roberto: 6.5/10
Sergi Roberto was deployed in the right-back position by Ronald Koeman. The Spanish international visibly struggled to deal with the threat of Goncalo Guedes, at times but got away with no harm done. Roberto might have struggled a bit more if Valencia had more quality going forward.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
Gerard Pique was asked to marshall the vulnerable Barcelona backline up against the likes of Maxi Gomez and Guedes. The veteran defender did relatively well, offering composure, experience and leadership to the table. He certainly did have difficulties containing the opposition forwards but managed to hold his position till the very end.
Eric Garcia: 7/10
Eric Garcia put in an improved display from all of his other ones so far this campaign. The former Manchester City defender looked much more courageous with his challenges and blocks. He was also alert and offered some quality passes in build-up play, although it was not a masterful display by any means.
Jordi Alba: 7.5/10
Alba played a vital role in Barcelona’s build-up play and chance creation. He had the most number of touches in the game while his support on the left flank was paramount in Barcelona’s offensive endeavours, with the left-back notably creating an excellent chance for Sergino Dest early on in the proceedings. An excellent display from the veteran full-back.
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
A responsible performance from de Jong, who had a hand in almost everything Barcelona did, including the defensive side of the game. The Dutchman’s incredible work-ethic saw him play a vital role in the second line of press while he also offered support going forward as well as acting as the ball-carrier in the middle of the park. He is indeed an asset for the Blaugrana.
Frankie De Jong is actually too good..
Just needs a coach that has sense really. Hasn't had that all his time in Barcelona
— Pҽιɳ 🐻 (@badniggafela) October 17, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Sergio Busquets screened the backline using his experience and ability to read the game. He was extremely useful during the build-up play as well, often establishing himself as a passing option whenever his teammates had difficulties evading the Valencia press.
Gavi was given the nod in the starting eleven in the absence of Pedri. The youngster showcased a lot of grit and determination, especially in possession. He was not one of the best performers by any means, but his influence was notable, although the midfielder did eventually make way for Nico Gonzalez during the final phase of the game.
Sergino Dest: 7.5/10
It was a gutsy call from Koeman to deploy Sergino Dest in a more attacking role. The move paid off well, though, as the American international was a constant threat on the far side, especially with his crosses into the box. He most notably registered the assist for the late goal scored by Philippe Coutinho while making life difficult for Jose Gaya.
Memphis Depay: 8/10
Memphis Depay put in an excellent shift in the number nine position for Barcelona. His link-up play with his teammates, especially Fati, was eye-catching, with the Dutchman notably registering the assist for the youngster’s equaliser before scoring one himself, just before the hour mark. Depay’s influence has been critical to Barcelona so far this campaign.
Ansu Fati: 8.5/10
Back into the starting eleven for the first time after a long injury layoff, Ansu Fati picked up from where he had left off, producing a stellar attacking display. He was almost unstoppable at times with his combination play with Depay while producing an excellent finish to find the equaliser for Barcelona.
Ansu Fati was out injured for nearly a year.
He’s scored two goals in his first two La Liga appearances since his comeback.
Still just 18 years old.
Barcelona’s number 10 for a reason 🌟 pic.twitter.com/TeDHesCjy4
— Goal (@goal) October 17, 2021
The youngster also won the penalty that led to Barcelona’s second goal of the night. His quality, pace and technical prowess on the left flank was clearly evident, and Koeman was wise enough to take him off around the hour mark.
Philippe Coutinho: 7/10
Philippe Coutinho replaced Fati around the hour mark to try and make his presence felt in the final third. The former Liverpool man did not disappoint either, doing well enough to snatch a late goal and secure all three points for his team.
Nicolas Gonzalez: 6/10
Nicolas Gonzalez offered more energy in the Barcelona team after replacing Gavi during the final phase of the game.
Oscar Mingueza: 6/10
Oscar Mingueza added an extra defensive body to help Barcelona defend their slender lead.
Sergio Aguero: N/A
Sergio Aguero made his much-awaited Barcelona debut when he came on for Dest. Did not play enough to warrant a rating, though.