Barcelona 3-1 Valencia: Fati leads comeback win for Barcelona as Aguero makes debut | La Liga 2021-22

Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona
Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona

Barcelona came from behind to record a 3-1 home win in their La Liga game against Valencia on Sunday.

First-half goals from Ansu Fati, and Memphis Depay brought Barca in front before a rare Philippe Coutinho goal completed the win in the second half. 

The mood was celebratory in Camp Nou after Ronald Koeman had named youngster Ansu Fati on the starting lineup for the first time since his return to injury and Kun Aguero was on the substitutes bench for the first time since he joined from Manchester City.

But the visitors threatened to spoil the party when they took the lead in the fifth minute through José Gaya. The left-back put the visitors in front with a brilliant effort from 20 yards after Barca failed to clear a corner properly.

Despite going behind that early, the hosts didn’t allow that to deter them as they kept pressing on the front foot. By the 13th minute, they were level through Fati, who picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the box after combining well with Depay.

The youngster was involved again in the 41st minute, winning the penalty from which Depay scored to give Barca the lead just before the break.

After the break, Koeman brought in Philippe Coutinho to replace Fati, who is still working his way back to full fitness following a lengthy injury layoff, while Óscar Mingueza replaced Sergi Roberto at the back.

Despite the changes, the home team continued to show signs of fluidity and were rewarded with a goal in the 85th minute through substitute Philippe Coutinho.

There was also time for Kun Aguero to make his Barcelona debut. The Argentine international came on with three minutes on the clock to replace Sergino Dest.

Although there was a lot to talk about in an entertaining game at Nou Camp, we highlight four main points.

Ansu Fati continues to prove his worth

After such a long time on the sidelines and following multiple operations to the knee, many feared that Fati would not return the same player he was before the injury.

But from the evidence shown in the past three games, Fati has not changed. The Spanish youngster is proving that there can be some hope for Barca even without Lionel Messi.

At just 18years, he is already the star of this team and on Sunday he was one of the standout performers.

Koeman would hope that he can continue with this form as Barca work to get their season back on track.

Depay and Fati partnership is crucial for Barca

Although all the talk might be about Fati, who had an exceptional game, it is impossible to ignore Memphis Depay.

The Dutchman might have his critics, but he remains arguably Barcelona’s most reliable player, at least for now.

On Sunday evening, he was involved in everything good for Barcelona and took his penalty well.

He also seems to have struck up an understanding with Fati and was the one who gave the youngster the assist for his goal after a smart exchange of passes. He was also there to receive balls from Fati, easily predicting the teenager’s next move.

The hope now is that both players can stay fit and perhaps form the fulcrum of Barcelona’s attack in the future.

Set-piece woes continue for Barca

For all their attacking brilliance, Barca are still very suspect defensively. 

The Blaugrana have conceded 14 goals in 10 competitive games this season, keeping just three clean sheets in that period.

Set pieces have especially proven to be their weak point, with the goal they conceded on Sunday being their third set-piece goal out of the four they have conceded at home in the league.

The earlier Koeman sort that out the better, especially as they are due to play Madrid in the league next week.

Aguero debut and return of injured players

Another positive for Barcelona is that Sergio Aguero finally made his debut. 

For the first time since he signed for Barcelona four months ago, Aguero was involved in a competitive game.

His return from injury as well as that of Coutinho would be a huge source of encouragement for Koeman, who has had to use academy graduates to survive for the past four months.

Hopefully, Dembele will join the list of returnees soon and give Koeman the right tools to work with.