Barcelona got their La Liga campaign off to an excellent start with a resounding 4-0 victory against Villarreal at the Camp Nou. Ronald Koeman's first game in charge at the Catalan club ended in an excellent victory for a Barcelona side that looks considerably different from the dull and ineffectual team that struggled to cope with the league's demands last season.
Villarreal were unable to deal with the likes of Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi, and Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona raced to a 4-0 lead in the first half. Ansu Fati was the best player on the pitch in the first half and scored two goals in a four-minute span to stun Unai Emery's Villarreal outfit.
Barcelona looked bright right from the outset as the injection of young blood immensely benefitted the Catalans. Ansu Fati picked up from where he left off last season and opened the scoring with an excellent goal within 15 minutes to break the deadlock.
The teenage wonderkid doubled his tally only four minutes later as Barcelona were afforded far too much space to work their magic in the final third. Fati's trickery in the penalty area was the highlight of the first half and his quick feet resulted in a spot-kick which was easily dispatched by Lionel Messi.
The Argentine genius was the chief creator of the fourth goal as he shrugged off Raul Albiol to the midfield and lobbed a cross into the box. Pau Torres was terribly unlucky to poke the ball into his own net with Sergio Busquets surprisingly breathing down his neck.
Villarreal presented a more united front in the second half as Barcelona continued to dominate possession but found it difficult to break the Yellow Submarine's lines. Lionel Messi and Francisco Trincao did get a few shots away late in the game but Sergio Asenjo was on hand to save Unai Emery's side from humiliation.
#5 Ansu Fati is the real deal
Ansu Fati was one of the only bright spots for Barcelona last season and it was only fitting that the teenager scored the first two goals for the Catalans in the new season. The winger gave Mario Gaspar nightmares on the left flank and took his two goals with frightening accuracy.
Ansu Fati is only 17 years of age and his brace against a strong Villarreal side will give him plenty of confidence. The Spanish forward adds a discernible element of dynamism to Barcelona's attacking play and seems to have formed an understanding with both Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi.
The young forward has immense potential and it is evident that Ronald Koeman will continue to trust him as the season progresses. With a number of difficult games ahead of him, Ansu Fati has the opportunity to truly come of age for Barcelona this season.
#4 Barcelona's refreshing approach dictated by youth
Barcelona looked particularly fresh on the pitch today and were very different from the outfit that was humiliated by Bayern Munich two months ago. The Catalans enjoyed a majority of the ball and were surprisingly sharp out of possession. While the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets did play their roles to perfection, a large portion of the credit must go to the Blaugrana's young stalwarts.
While Ansu Fati took it upon himself to take Barcelona across the finish line tonight, Ousmane Dembele made an official appearance for Barcelona after nearly a year. The Frenchman showed glimpses of his electric dribbling skills and will hope that he can finally kickstart his Barcelona career this year.
Pedri and Francisco Trincao also made their debuts for Barcelona tonight and are likely to feature in the Catalans' difficult trip to Celta Vigo later this week. Trincao, in particular, looked sharp on the ball and is likely to play an important role in Barcelona's La Liga season.
Also Read: La Liga 2019/20: Team of the season