Ansu can do it on a wet Thursday in Vigo
It wasn’t quite a wet Thursday night in Stoke, as the old cliche goes, but it was certainly a soggy Celta side that Ansu Fati faced and came up trumps once again.
The 17-year-old scored his third goal of the season with another brilliant effort that brought back memories of a certain Samuel Eto’o.
✅ 3 GOALS— LaLigaTV (@LaLigaTV) October 1, 2020
✅ 3 POINTS
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Ansu’s goal was his 10th in La Liga from just 16 shots on target, a ridiculous strike rate, and means he becomes just the second 17-year-old to reach 10 La Liga goals for Barcelona.
The Barcelona starlet is also now closing in on adding another record to his growing collection. He needs just two more goals to overtake Pablo Pombo Quintana’s landmark of scoring 11 goals before his 18th birthday, a record held since 1933-34.
Lenglet red leaves Barcelona short for Sevilla
Clement Lenglet’s first half red card was just about the only low point of a good night for Barcelona. The Frenchman’s sending off means he’ll miss Sunday’s visit from Sevilla.
Ronald Araujo arrived shortly after Lenglet’s dismissal to firm up the backline alongside Gerard Pique and should continue on Sunday night.
The 21-year-old has been on the fringes of the first team for a little while now but has an excellent opportunity to impress at the Camp Nou against the Europa League winners.
Yet there are precious few other options for Koeman in defence. Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo weren’t even in the squad for Celta, while 18-year-old Santiago Ramos Mingo did make the cut but has yet to make his first-team debut.
De Jong enjoying life under Koeman
Frenkie de Jong always looked like being one of the big winners from Koeman’s appointment and against Celta he revelled in his role in the double pivot alongside Sergio Busquets.
Indeed one of the highlights of the match, aside from the goals, was De Jong’s gorgeous pass with the outside of his boot to Griezmann. It came after some silky skills from Gerard Pique too and should have ended with a goal, but Griezmann’s control let him down.
It was the sort of performance that Barcelona have been expecting consistently from De Jong since he moved from Ajax but wasn’t seen too often last season. On this evidence you get the feeling Barca might finally see the real De Jong in 2020-21.
Koeman passes Balaidos test
Ronald Koeman faced a tricky test on Thursday at a ground where Barcelona had not won since 2015. Indeed Barca’s away form as a whole has been pretty unimpressive over the last few seasons, but this was a big win for the Dutchman.
The coach opted to stick with the same starting XI that beat Villarreal and was quick to change things after Lenget had been sent off. On came Ronald Araujo with Antoine Griezmann sacrificed.
Barcelona didn’t seem too affected by going a man down either. An early goal at the start of the second half certainly helped, but Koeman’s substitutions were also pretty good. There was no sign of caution as he threw on Pedri and Francisco Trincao in the second half.
Koeman also explained why he’d opted for his new duo rather than Ousmane Dembele, saying the youngsters “add more defensively” than the Frenchman.
So far it’s two wins from two games and two clean sheets for Koeman. Things could not really have gone much better.
Time to get excited about Coutinho?
There’s no doubt that Philippe Coutinho looks a different player to the one who struggled under the weight of his enormous price tag when he first joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018.
The Brazilian has returned from his spell with Bayern Munich looking physically stronger, full of confidence and ready to prove himself at the Camp Nou after being handed a second chance.
Against Celta he was good on and off the ball, linked up well with Ansu and Messi and was deservedly handed the man of the match award. The big question now is can he keep it up?