Barcelona wins as 8/10 Sergio Dest, Memphis Depay, and Gavi shine.
Barcelona defeated Levante 3-0 at Camp Nou on Sunday to break a three-game losing skid, with Ansu Fati scoring in his first appearance in ten months.
Ansu, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since November, came on as a second-half replacement against Levante to score Barca’s third goal in injury time.
Barca had taken full control of the game after scoring two early goals in the first 15 minutes. After excellent work by Sergio Dest, Memphis Depay earned and converted a penalty, and Luuk de Jong scored his first goal for his new club.
The victory, which keeps Barcelona undefeated in their first six LaLiga games, relieves some of the burdens on coach Ronald Koeman, who was forced to watch the game from the bleachers due to a touchline suspension.
Barca is going through a tough time, but there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. Ansu, who is donning Lionel Messi’s former No. 10 jersey, will take the spotlight in this match.
His aim was to give Camp Nou the boost it needed. It was also an emotional occasion for him, which he shared with his family and the team’s physicians in the bleachers. His father was inconsolably upset.
But it wasn’t just about Ansu. Gavi, a 17-year-old midfielder, had been the game’s outstanding performance for most of the game. Nico Gonzalez, a 19-year-old midfielder, made an impression in his first senior debut for the club.
There weren’t many from this dominating display, which came after Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid both dropped points this weekend. Levante didn’t even attempt a shot until the last ten minutes, but Barca was up against a team who hadn’t won in the league since April.
Koeman was not on the bench after he was sent off against Cadiz on Thursday.
He did, however, get his team picks spot correct. He was rewarded for trusting Nico and Gavi,
with Barca’s finest pressing performance in months thanks to a loose 4-2-3-1 shape.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK ter Stegen, Marc-Andre, 6 — I had to make one late save against Alejandro Cantero, but other than that, I didn’t have much to do.
DF Oscar Mingueza, 7 years old — Another strong showing from the right-back position. Set up an opportunity for Gavi with a beautiful pass over the top.
DF 7-year-old Gerard Pique — In the back four, there’s an ancient head. He was playing with a 22-year-old and two 20-year-olds at the age of 34, but his expertise was valuable in that regard.
DF Eric Garcia, 7 years old — The summer signing put up a solid display, reading the game effectively and passing out nicely from the back.
DF Sergio Dest, age eight — The American international turned in one of his finest performances of the season. On the left, he was a force to be reckoned with, setting up De Jong’s goal and generating a slew of opportunities throughout the game.
MF Busquets, Sergio, 7 — Along with Nico, he looked fantastic and even had time to show off his signature drag backs, much to the delight of the 35,000-strong audience.
MF Nico Gonzalez, 7 years old — Early on, he seemed shaky, but in his entire debut, he settled into the game. He is powerful, has a good understanding of the game, and keeps things simple. This season, he’ll have lots of opportunities.
Gavi, MF, 8 — This will almost certainly be copied and pasted this season, but it was a charming performance from a 17-year-old who defies his age. He knows where to be and when to be there, how to utilize his body effectively, and how to play the ball well. Has the potential to be a big star.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 6 years old — After a nine-month layoff, he’s still getting back into shape. These minutes will be beneficial to him, and in his chosen center position, he connected effectively with others around him.
Memphis, FW Depay (nine) — For Levante, he was a constant threat all day. Wiggled his way out of a variety of situations, winning and scoring the game’s first penalty. The only drawback was that, given the opportunities he had, he didn’t score another.
Luuk de Jong, FW, 6 — The iconic No. 9 puts up a strong performance. He was focused on his objective and put in a lot of effort.
MF Riqui Puig, 6 years old — Almost made an immediate impact for Memphis, setting up an opportunity before slaloming into the box and failing to get his shot off.
Ansu Fati, FW Ansu Fati, FW Ansu Fati, FW Ansu What a remarkable young guy he is. It was incredible to see him return after more than a decade away and perform as he did for 15 minutes. Although considering his influence in LaLiga and the Champions League as a 16-year-old, it’s not surprising that he didn’t feel the pressure.
DF NR Ronald Araujo — This week, he rested for the games against Benfica and Atletico Madrid, but he came on late.
NR Yusuf Demir, FW Gavi was replaced for the last 10 minutes or thereabouts.
DF NR Clement Lenglet — In stoppage time, he came in for Dest.