Ousmane Dembele looked bright in his cameo, but Memphis Depay struggled as Barcelona lost 1-0 to Real Betis in La Liga on Saturday.
Barcelona suffered their first defeat under new manager Xavi Hernandez as Real Betis beat them 1-0 at Camp Nou, courtesy of a second-half strike from Juanmi.
Barcelona saw plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges but failed to carve out any major openings apart from a half-chance for Philippe Coutinho that Rui Silva saved comfortably. Real Betis posed a threat on the break, but the first period ended without a goal, with the most notable incident being the substitution of midfield prodigy Gavi, who had to be worryingly stretchered off after he suffered a head injury.
The second half started similarly to the first, and it was the visitors who threatened to take the lead, with Juanmi putting the ball into the back of the net, only to see the goal get chalked off due to offside. Barcelona improved after the introduction of Ousmane Dembele, who livened things up a great deal in the final third, along with fellow substitute Frenkie de Jong.
However, Betis broke the deadlock from a devastating counter led by Sergio Canales, with Juanmi applying the finishing touches in the 79th minute. Xavi’s men pushed hard in search of an equaliser, but one wasn’t forthcoming as they ended up losing 1-0, a result that leaves them six points off of the top four and 16 below league leaders Real Madrid. Here are our player ratings for the Barcelona stars.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5/10
The German got away with one in the second half as he was caught in no man’s land when Juanmi beat him, but the goal was ruled out. He could not have done much to stop the winning goal, however.
Sergino Dest: 5/10
Making his return to the side, Dest did not look all too convincing for most of the evening. He had some good moments when he joined up in attack while using his recovery pace in defence. But, overall, he was sloppy at the back and was partly at fault for the winning goal.
Ronald Araujo: 7/10
The centre-back was yet again one of Barcelona’s shining lights with a solid and assured display. Strong in his challenges and aggressive in his defending, Araujo kept things in check for large parts and made several crucial interventions throughout the game, while his passing was on point. He continues to enhance his reputation with each passing game.
📊| Ronald Araújo vs Real Betis. 🪨
• 79 Touches.
• 62/70 Passes.
• 3 Long Balls.
• 1 Cross.
• 1 Chance Created.
• 1 Key Pass.
• 1 Shot.
• 6/8 Duels Won.
• 2 Clearances.
• 1 Tackle.
• 5/5 Aerials Won.
• 1 Interception.
• 7 Ball Recoveries.
• 0 Times Dribbled Past. pic.twitter.com/E2vTMKuzUk
— Barça Buzz (@Barca_Buzz) December 4, 2021
Clement Lenglet: 7/10
A surprise starter ahead of Gerard Pique and Eric Garcia, the Frenchman was sound defensively throughout. Like Araujo, Lenglet, too, was at hand to make some vital interventions while his ability to play accurate passes from the back helped Barcelona build play from the back.
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
The veteran Spaniard made his 400th appearance for Barcelona and put in a typically energetic display. Alba had his hands full against the lively Aitor Ruibal, who caused him problems. The left-back made some decent runs going forward, but the end product was missing on the evening.
Moved to his preferred midfield role after starting in attack in the last two matches, the 17-year-old prodigy had made a decent start to the game. However, he had to be taken off in worrying circumstances around the half-hour mark after he took a ball to the head from close range.
LATEST NEWS | The tests carried out on Gavi have been satisfactory and he has been released from the hospital pic.twitter.com/I4Tbl3ZxaW
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 4, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
The Barcelona captain was in good touch as he sat in front of the backline and offered a shield, constantly cutting out counterattacking opportunities while keeping the team ticking along with nice and precise passes. At times, he could have tried to be a bit more proactive and incisive with his distribution, though.
Nico Gonzalez: 6/10
The youngster started well with good energy and intensity, winning the ball back and making driving runs forward. However, his performance faded with time while he was also guilty of conceding some cheap fouls over the course of his stay on the pitch.
Abde Ezzalzouli: 6/10
The Barcelona B winger got yet another opportunity with the first team, and while he impressed with his energy and work rate, some of his decision-making and end product in the final third left a lot to be desired. Still, Abde put in the hard yards and was a willing runner, often tracking back to help Dest out as well.
Memphis Depay: 4/10
Another ineffective display from Barcelona’s marquee summer signing. Starting in the No. 9 slot, the Dutchman was guilty of losing possession way too often, leading to moves dying out and not offering enough with his hold-up play. While he did not have many chances come his way, he did not look like someone who could make things happen and failed to take a single shot at goal.
Xavi : "In Memphis we have to help him understand the game. Still, he's helping us a lot. He makes very good clearances in space, but we're not finding him." pic.twitter.com/WoSoaV5Mj0
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) December 4, 2021
Philippe Coutinho: 5/10
Given the nod on the left-wing, the Brazilian started well, looking lively in the early exchanges and drew a straightforward save from the Real Betis stopper. But Coutinho went missing as the game wore on, with his involvement and influence nosediving sharply.
Riqui Puig: 6/10
The midfielder replaced the injured Gavi in the first period. While he failed to make a major impact on the proceedings, Puig did look impressive in bursts when he tried to make progressive runs from midfield.
Ousmane Dembele: 7/10
The injury-prone Frenchman came on around the hour mark for Coutinho and sparked a fire in the Barcelona attack. Dembele caused problems to the Betis defence with his pace and running and came close to scoring with a couple of efforts that narrowly missed. He also created chances for his teammates. A big positive for Barcelona despite the result.
• Ousmane Dembélé took on the responsibility and intensified Barcelona's attack after coming on vs Betis.
• He beat defenders, attempted 4 shots and created a big chance for Abde but sadly it wasn't enough.
• Dembélé has to start against Bayern Munich.
— Barça Buzz (@Barca_Buzz) December 5, 2021
Frenkie de Jong: 6.5/10
The former Ajax ace also improved Barcelona’s attacking play after replacing Nico in the 59th minute. He made some good forward passes and looked to drive upfield with the ball but could not turn things around.
Gerard Pique: N/A
Late substitute for Abde.
Luuk de Jong: N/A
On for Lenglet with less than ten minutes left.