Football Features

“The titanic teenager carrying the Camp Nou” – Player ratings as Barcelona come from behind to beat Valencia 3-1

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:38, 17 October 2021

In a lively night of La Liga football, Barcelona came from behind to see off Valencia at the Camp Nou.

Here’s how the players rated at Camp Nou:


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Barcelona

Marc-André Ter Stegen – 8 – Made some massive saves, especially one from Guedes. Is he approaching his best form again?

Sergi Roberto – 4 – Didn’t help much in attack and his defensive contribution can best be summed up by one moment in the first-half when Frenkie de Jong, picking the ball up in the middle of defence turned to pass the ball to him only to find absolutely no one standing in the right-back spot and raised his hands as if to ask “where the hall is everyone?!”

That Barcelona’s dismal second-half showing was turned around almost instantly just by taking him off says so much.

Gerard Piqué – 6 – Really struggled with Maxi Gomez in the first-half but still defended well overall and one clearance in particular was done with such effortless excellence.

Eric Garcia – 7 – Surprisingly, young Eric Garcia didn’t disgrace himself at Camp Nou and even managed to put in some impressive challenges. Could he yet prove to actually be a good defender?

Jordi Alba – 8 – Effective running up and down the left-flank, providing constant width and some tasty crosses. Defended well, too.

Sergio Busquets – 7 – Was a solid presence in the middle as the younger players allowed him to hide his physical limitations and get stuck in. Distributed the ball so nicely, showing not even a hint of panic.

Frenkie de Jong – 8 – Played his heart out from start to finish, charging up and down the field and always offering himself as a passing option. No matter how poorly structured Barcelona can be, Frenkie always manages to distinguish himself.

Gavi – 6 – Worked hard but you can tell he isn’t receiving the same quality of coaching that he does for Spain as he doesn’t look as sharp as he does for his country. Still, put a shift in.

Sergino Dest – 7 – An impressive display out of position on the wing. Was always driving the ball forward, and did amazingly well to set-up Coutinho for Barcelona’s third goal.

Memphis Depay – 8 – A rock solid showing at the head of the team. Completed 6/8 dribbles, created 2 chances, picked up a stunning assist with a beautiful lay-off to Ansu Fati and put Barcelona into the lead with an unerring penalty. Remains a fabulous link-man in attack, and Barcelona just need to supply the running mates for him in attack.

Ansu Fati – 8 – Ansu Fati is a star, a big bright shining star. People may have forgotten because of his injury but they’ll remember after tonight. Making his first start in almost a year the young Spaniard was simply electric.

Almost a minute in he struck a shot into the side netting, then 10 minutes after Barcelona fell behind he rocketed them back level with an absolutely outrageous Messi-esque finish from the edge of the box (albeit with his right-foot).

Ansu terrorised Valencia every time he had the ball, holding it up, distributing it, and just being a menace every time he had it. After scoring the equaliser he then won the penalty with a brilliantly timed run that forced a foul from José Gaya. Every time he did anything, it created threat. And threat is something Barcelona have been missing all season. If Ansu Fati stays fit, Barcelona could actually do something this season; but without the titanic teenager carrying the Camp Nou on his shoulders it will all fall apart. He’s that good.

Substitutes:

Coutinho (for Ansu 59′) – 6 – Was awful all the way up to the point when he scored the third goal. Didn’t hide, but also didn’t get anything right beyond the goal. Is in such a strange place in his career.

Nico Gonzalez (for Gavi 71′) – 6 – Solidified the midfield.

Oscar Mingueza (for Roberto 71′) – 6 – Wasn’t outstanding but helped stabilise the side defensively.

Sergio Aguero (for Dest 87′) – 6 – Had the Camp Nou on their feet chanting his name. Couldn’t get the goal they all wanted him to, but seemed fit at the very least. If he stays healthy, could he be a big contributor?


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Valencia

Jasper Cillessen – 6 – Some decent saves (in particular to deny Ansu Fati) but probably should have done better on Coutinho’s goal.

Dimitri Foulquier – 4 – Could never get a handle on Jordi Alba nor Ansu Fati. Didn’t offer much in defence besides violence; didn’t offer too much in attack either.

Gabriel Paulista – 7 – Really impressive display at the heart of defence. Until he decided to not mark Coutinho for the third Barcelona goal.

Mouctar Diakhaby – 7 – Constantly threw his body in the way of everything and, until he left Coutinho all alone in the middle of the Valencia box (he would have had an 8 but for that), he hadn’t put a foot wrong against a sharp Barcelona attack.

José Gaya – 8 – A brilliant performance bar one error when he conceded a penalty by fouling Ansu Fati. Would have gotten a 9 but for that. Opened the scoring with a spectacular strike from long rage and then minutes later made a miraculous clearance to stop an instant Dest equaliser. Was a menace whenever he went forward.

Hugo Guillamon – 6 – Shielded the Valencia defence reasonably well.

Hugo Duro – 5 – Bar one lovely moment of skill he was mostly lost in the shuffle of the game.

Carlos Soler – 7 – Valencia’s heartbeat. Battled all game long and drove them forward. Hit the post.

Daniel Wass – 5 – Didn’t impact the game too much from midfield. Was even worse at right-back.

Goncalo Guedes – 7 – Looked Valencia’s brightest player, always taking the game to Barcelona whenever he could.

Maxi Gomez – 6 – Inexplicably avoided censure for elbowing Piqué in the face. But nevertheless he was a consistent problem with his physical approach.

Substitutes:

Marcos André (for Duro 59′) – 6 – Added a bit more presence.

Denis Cheryshev (for Foulquier 75′) – 5 – Couldn’t impact the game.

Yunus Musah (for Guedes 75′) – 5 – Failed to pick up Coutinho on the Brazilian’s goal and never really showed his skills in attack.

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