Barcelona stormed to a 5-2 victory on Saturday night against a Valencia side whose manager, Marcelino García Toral, was dismissed earlier in the week by club owner Peter Lim.
Story of the Match
16-year-old Ansu Fati fired Barça into the lead in under two minutes to score his second goal for the club, and his first-ever at the Camp Nou. Not long after, Fati provided the assist for Frenkie De Jong, who finished well to put Ernesto Valverde's side 2-0 up with less than 10 minutes played.
Kevin Gameiro pulled a goal back for Valencia just short of the half-hour mark, and Los Che went in at half time with everything to play for. However, a goal from Gerard Piqué and a brace from substitute Luis Suárez gave Barça their second victory of the season after a highly impressive second-half performance.
With Lionel Messi still out injured and Luis Suárez on the bench, Valverde gave Ansu Fati his first La Liga start at the Camp Nou, and the 16-year-old would not take long to make an impact.
A Frenkie De Jong cross from the right found Fati, who smashed it low and hard to the keeper's left to put the home side into the lead. The two newcomers would combine again minutes later, Ansu with a powerful run to leave Valencia's José Gaya behind and set up De Jong for Barça's second goal of the evening. Fati, a product of La Masía, had just made history by becoming the youngest player in the history of La Liga to score and provide an assist in the same game.
This was hardly the start that new Valencia manager Albert Celades was looking for, but his team reacted well after conceding the second goal. After a few decent attacks and some half chances, the visitors were given a lifeline when Rodrigo Moreno's clever through pass put Kevin Gameiro through on goal. The Frenchman's cool finish to Ter Stegen's right rattled in off the post, and Barça's lead was back to one.
Valencia now looked like they were coming into the game, and were not without their chances as the first half came to an end. Los Che started the second half the same way they had ended the first, but a slice of bad luck on 51 minutes was to be the beginning of their undoing. Antoine Griezmann fired a powerful shot underneath Jasper Cillessen which rebounded off of the post and into the path of Piqué, who slotted into the open goal to make it 3-1.
Nelson Semedo's shot cannoned off the post on 54 minutes, and showing no signs of letting up, Valverde brought Luis Suárez on for Fati with half an hour remaining. During a sustained period of attack from the home side, Suárez would score his first of the game only a minute after coming on, neatly bending a shot which went in off of the keeper's right hand post.
The Uruguayan would grab his second and Barça's fifth on 82 minutes. A piece of quick thinking from Griezmann inside the box led to a nice assist, and Suárez fired home at the near post.
Valencia managed to get a consolation goal in the 92nd minute thanks to Maxi Gómez, but his team had long since been undone by a second half performance as good as any from Barcelona in recent years.
Fati shines in his first start at the Camp Nou
Although this was a great team effort, the star of the show was undoubtedly 16-year-old Ansu Fati. Every time he gets the ball he looks dangerous, and culé supporters will be pleased to see him working so well with other Barça newcomer Frenkie De Jong.
De Jong and Arthur combine well in midfield
De Jong himself was one of several players who stood out on Saturday night. Despite starting on the left, the Dutchman would often drift seemlessly over to the right, switching positions with Arthur and appearing to play with total freedom. His performance is likely to quieten any voices within the Catalan support who have questioned his ability in light of their side's rather lacklustre start to the La Liga season.
Valencia's problems continue on the pitch
The Valencia players chose not to speak to the media after the match to avoid commenting on the managerial situation which has dominated the headlines over the past few days. Albert Celades' side will be looking to put events of the last week - both on and off the field - behind them. Los Che travel to London to face Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday.