CELTA 0-BARCELONA 3

Barcelona player ratings after 0-3 victory over Celta

It had been five years since Barcelona beat Celta at Balaídos but Leo Messi and Ansu Fati led a 10-man side to victory to maintain Koeman's perfect start.

Barcelona player ratings after 0-3 victory over Celta
Lalo R. Villar DIARIO AS

Ronald Koeman continued his perfect start as Barcelona manager with a 0-3 victory in Balaídos on Thursday, the first win Barça had carved out against Celta in their stadium in five years. Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto provided the goals, with Leo Messi provoking an own goal for the second time in two games. Here’s how Koeman’s players rated.

Neto: The Brazilian’s best game to date for Barça. Assured under crosses and played the ball out well with his feet. His performance temporarily left Marc-Andre ter Stegen forgotten.

Sergi Roberto: A wonderful game from the full back. Not only did he score but ha also prevented Celta from doing so when he diverted a goal-bound effort from Baeza onto the bar. As always, he ran himself into the ground for the cause. The arrival of Sergiño Dest has got Roberto firing and the former Ajax man may have to work to oust him from the side.

Gerard Piqué: Another game touching perfection from the central defender, although he was spared an early bath by the linesman’s flag after a woeful challenge on Denis Suárez. Positionally impeccable, his reading of the game prevented a lively Celta attack from making much headway.

Clément Lenglet: The Frenchman was having a good game alongside Piqué, as much in snuffing out Celta’s attacking moves as bringing the ball out, until he threw out an elbow to halt Suárez’s advance and earned a second yellow card. Koeman and the Barça players protested but he left the referee with no choice. Barça managed with 10 players and they’ll have to manage without Lenglet when they play Sevilla, his former side, on Sunday.

Jordi Alba: Koeman is getting the best out of Alba, who is playing at an extremely high level in both attack and defence. It will be a travesty if Luis Enrique continues to overlook him for Spain on this form.

Sergio Busquets: A solid game from the more defensive of Koeman’s two-man midfield base, who struggled early on to get into the game against Villarreal. In Balaídos he was immediately conducting play and finding line-breaking passes from deep. Koeman’s new system has taken some of the defensive strain off Busquets with De Jong to cover when needed and he seems to be playing with more freedom.

Frenkie de Jong: A well-rounded game. There is a reason for everything that he does and he makes it look so easy that sometimes he appears to be involved in a knock-about in his back garden. He got out of plenty of tight spots with some deft passing and offered himself up between the lines to link with his teammates. The midfielder is playing like he did at Ajax and that is also courtesy of Koeman’s new system.

Philippe Coutinho: Another player who is enjoying a renaissance under Koeman. The Brazilian was in total control of the ball, moving it where and when he wanted to, and is eager to be involved with every attacking move while also adding cohesion to them. His understanding with Messi and Ansu was excellent, as against Villarreal.

Leo Messi: Messi has made his peace with Can Barça, on and off the pitch, through an institutional message published in the Catalan media and with his performances on the pitch against Villarreal and Celta. He has yet to score, but he has provoked two own goals this season already and has come close to finding the back of the net, not least direct from a corner in Balaídos. He was the author of the second goal with his mazy run and shot, even if it finally went in off Olaza.

Ansu Fati: It seems there is no limit to what Ansu might become. His strike to open the scoring was a pure forward’s goal, clipping the ball with the outside of his boot under pressure from two defenders. It will be extremely difficult for anyone to oust the 17-year-old from the starting line-up at the moment.

Antoine Griezmann: The Frenchman was much more active and keyed in with his attacking partners than against Villarreal and sought the ball with confidence, causing plenty of problems on the right. He might have opened his account had he not miscontrolled a fine cross from De Jong but he didn’t even make it to the end of the first half as Koeman sacrificed him after Lenglet’s dismissal.

Substitutes

Ronald Araujo: Came on to fill the gap left by Lenglet and had a solid 50 minutes. The Barça B youngster kept it simple and made very few errors. He Will get the chance to start against Sevilla.

Pedri: The former Las Palmas midfielder offers something different in attack. He is always looking to add a touch of class with a backheel or nutmeg and always looking to get towards goal. He only got 20 minutes but showed he has something special about him.

Francisco Trincão: The Portuguese was asked to operate on the right wing from where he maybe tried to do a little too much, but he added width and rolled up his sleeves in defence.