Barcelona moved back into La Liga’s top four with an impressive 4-0 victory over a much-changed Athletic Club on Sunday night.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on hand to score the rebound after Gerard Pique struck the bar, while Ousmane Dembele crashed in the second. Substitutes Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay bagged late on to wrap up all three points at Camp Nou.
Barça could have taken the lead when Aubameyang played Ferran Torres in, but the January signing’s shot was too central and bashed away by Unai Simon.
They were rewarded for their dominance soon after as Aubameyang continued his fine start to life in Catalonia by converting after Gerard Pique struck the bar with a powerful header. It was his fifth goal in just his sixth Barça appearance.
While Athletic sat back and looked to play on the counter-attack, they couldn’t make many opportunities and it was Torres who had the next big chance, but the Spain forward could only shoot straight at Simon when through on goal.
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Athletic’s lack of attacking intent ultimately came back to bite them as two substitutes combined to register Barça’s second.
Frenkie de Jong swung the ball out to Dembele, who took it wide before thumping a shot in at the near post.
Barça rubbed salt into Athletic’s wounds late on with two goals, with beanpole striker De Jong flicking in Dembele’s cross before Depay tapped in from close range, again assisted by Dembele
The victory moves Barcelona back up to fourth, having dropped to sixth following wins for Atletico Madrid and Villarreal. They are back in action next Sunday when they visit Elche.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 6/10 – Not called into action too often throughout the game.
Dani Alves (RB) – 7/10 – Some good deliveries from out wide, including a corner which led to Aubameyang’s goal. Looking a bit ageless with this the latest in a string of good performances.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 8/10 – Was a threat in the opposite box, first seeing an effort blocked before his header led to Aubameyang’s strike. Booked for a tug on Sancet, but was largely untroubled at the back.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – 7/10 – Looked comfortable and happy playing out from the back. Good relationship developing with elder statesman Pique.
Sergino Dest (LB) – 7/10 – Got back well to sort out a mix-up in Barça’s defence. Few opportunities to get the ball into the box but the final ball eluded him. Was also dispossessed a little too often.
Pedri was awesome / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
Pedri (CM) – 9/10 – Played some absolutely wonderful diagonal passes. Great vision, always looked to take the ball forward and didn’t neglect his defensive duties. Great run in the build-up to his side’s second. A real gem.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 7/10 – Booked for a late challenge on Vencedor. His usual silky self in possession, turning on a six-pence and keeping Barça’s attacks flowing.
Gavi (CM) – 7/10 – Could have done better when teed up by Torres. Showed nothing less than 100% commitment. Looked to dribble and often got the better of his opposite number. Brought off for Frenkie de Jong after a decent performance.
Aubameyang has started life at Camp Nou excellently / Soccrates Images/GettyImages
Adama Traore (RW) – 7/10 – Terrific run ended with a Torres shot being pushed away. Stretched Athletic’s defence well with his incredible pace.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – 7/10 – Poacher’s finish to give Barça the lead. Had fewer touches than most of his teammates but showed the killer instinct his new club has needed for a while.
Ferran Torres (LW) – 6/10 – Set up a decent chance for Gavi who blazed over. Great opportunity to make it 2-0 but was denied by Simon. Again not at his sharpest and subbed off.
Dembele grabbed a goal and two assists / Eric Alonso/GettyImages
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 7/10 – Played a decent ball into Aubameyang moments after his introduction and got the assist for Dembele’s strike.
Ousmane Dembele (LW) – 9/10 – Went some way to endearing himself to Barça fans again by scoring the crucial second, firing in from an acute angle. Set up the third with an accurate cross for Luuk de Jong and got another by crossing for Depay.
Memphis Depay (LW) – 7/10 – Put the seal on the victory with his side’s fourth, possibly one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score.
Luuk de Jong (ST) – 7/10 – Made the most of his brief opportunity, heading in Dembele’s cross to make it 3-0.
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