Fati scores as Barca cruise to victory over Valencia in turmoil
Barcelona claimed all three points in a 5-2 thrashing over Valencia at the Camp Nou. The home side scored two early goals and they never looked back from then on.
Valverde's men got off to the perfect start in the second minute when Carles Perez and De Jong combined before Ansu Fati beat Cillessen. Five minutes later, they made it two and the 16 year-old Ansu Fati was influential again. He beat Garay with ease before cutting back for De Jong to tap into the net. The home side kept plenty of possession and were just waiting for their opportunities. Ansu Fati had another chance to score after 16 minutes, but Garay deflected his shot wide. Then, Valencia woke up.
Gameiro was played in by Rodrigo, but he could not find the target and then in the 27th minute, Gameiro brought Los Che back into the game. Garay passed to Rodrigo and he fed Gameiro to tap home the great team move. The VAR had to give the goal though after the linesman had initially given it offside. The goal gave the visitiors a major lift and they continued to threaten for the rest of the half.
The closest they came to levelling was when Ter Stegen denied Gameiro and Rodrigo on three occasions just seven minutes before half-time. Barca defended the move poorly and were let off the hook. Valencia then won a couple of corners, but the hosts cleared them. The half ended with Griezmann firing over the crossbar and Valencia were not out of the game.
In the second period, Gameiro volleyed Wass' cross over the goal, but five minutes later, their hopes of getting something from the game were dashed. Griezmann shot from outside the box, Cillessen spilled what should have been a routine save and then Pique was there to pick up the pieces. Semedo then hit the post four minutes later with a shot across the keeper. Barca's pressure told and the game was sealed just after the hour mark.
Suarez scored seconds after coming on as a substitute when he scooped the ball from the edge of the D. His effort went into off the base of the post and put Barca 4-1 up. Cillessen then tried to redeem himself after he saved from Griezmann and Perez, but he would concede another one in the 82nd minute. Suarez tried to play in Rakitic, his shot was blocked and then after Valencia cleared off the line, Griezmann passed to Suarez to make it five. Valencia were well and truly played off the park and Barca showed their dominance on the scoreline.
As time was running out, Maxi Gomez netted a late consolation for Valencia, but it was a mere consolation and did not change the fact that it was an absolute thrashing. Barca are now just two points off top with this win while Albert Celades' first game in change could not have gone worse.
Sacking Marcelino against the players' will and after the success of last season was always a risk and only time will tell whether the change was positive or not. What is clear is that Celades has got work to do to win the players and fans over.