Ansu Fati and Arthur came off the bench to salvage a point for Barcelona as their stuttering start to the season continued against Osasuna at El Sadar on Saturday.
Barcelona got off to the worst of starts, conceding the first goal in the game for the third successive week. After Clement Lenglet was turned inside out by Brandon, Roberto Torres saw the cross headed his way. And, the 30-year-old volleyed in past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to hand Osasuna the lead.
Barcelona subsequently saw more of the ball, but failed to create any sort of meaningful chances as Los Rojillos took their narrow advantage into the break. Post the break, however, the visitors hit back almost instantly, with half-time substitute Ansu Fati heading in from Carles Perez’s cross four minutes into the second half.
Arthur was introduced a couple of minutes later, and the Brazilian scored ten minutes after coming on, swivelling inside the Osasuna box before curling his effort past Ruben Martinez. But, just when it looked like Barcelona had done enough to grab all three points, Jagoba Arrasate’s men hit back to level things up 10 minutes from time.
Osasuna were awarded a penalty when the ball hit Gerard Pique’s arm and Torres subsequently converted from the spot to ensure the two sides shared the spoils. With Barcelona turning in another frustrating performance, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
A frustrating afternoon at work for ter Stegen, who could not have done anything to stop either goal – one a fiercely struck volley and the other a penalty. Otherwise, the German was much more precise and assured with his distribution last weekend and made a couple of fine saves to keep Barcelona in the game; the one from Juan Villar’s shot stood out.
Nelson Semedo: 5/10
A game to forget for Semedo, who failed to make any sort of impact on either end of the pitch. While the Portuguese was a non-factor going forward, he struggled against the threat of Roberto Torres at the back and left the Spaniard unmarked for the opening Osasuna goal. Hooked off at half-time.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
Not a bad performance over the course of the game by any means. But, Pique was the reason why Osasuna came back into the game, handling the ball to give them the chance to equalise. Otherwise, the veteran fared decently, only struggling on the odd occasion against Chimy Avila and Brandon.
Clement Lenglet: 5/10
Like Pique, Lenglet too contributed to Barcelona’s shortcomings on the day. Marking Brandon, he was dragged outside his box, leaving a lot of space for Torres to exploit; not to mention being turned inside out by the Osasuna striker. Looked shaky for much of the game and might have given Samuel Umtiti a ray of hope.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
A game of two halves for Alba, who looked devoid of ideas going forward in the first 45 minutes. The Spaniard also lost the ball in the lead-up to Torres’s opening goal. Post the break, Alba linked up well with Fati and Arthur and put up a more solid front defensively too. Room for improvement, still.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
Given a third straight outing in midfield, this was Roberto’s opportunity to cement his place in his new role. But, what transpired over the first half saw him take several steps back. The Spanish international offered very little creativity. Moved into the right-back slot post the break, Roberto struggled there as well. With Arthur impressing, this might well be the end of his run in midfield.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
A mixed bag of a performance by Busquets, who had a bit of a hairy start to the game, leaving a lot of open spaces. But, once he found his feet, the experienced midfielder dictated the tempo of the game well, although he still needs some more incision in his passing. Taking steps in the right direction, however.
Frenkie de Jong: 5/10
A game that showed that de Jong is still experiencing some teething problems. Some of it was down to Valverde’s tactics, with the Dutchman forced out towards the left, where he is out of his comfort zone. Improved when he took Roberto’s place, combining well with Arthur before being replaced by Arturo Vidal late on.
Carles Perez: 7/10
An outing of hits and misses for Perez. The youngster looked a bit out of his depths in the first half but sparked into life after the interval. Set Fati up with a precise cross before also assisting Arthur for Barcelona’s second. His overlapping run helped Arthur’s cause as well. But, when the roles were reversed with Arthur, he should have done better with his finish.
Antoine Griezmann: 5/10
Following the highs of last week came a bit of a setback. Starting as the focal point of the Barcelona attack, Griezmann was often left isolated and had to come short to see some action, which only added to his side’s struggle. Was less anonymous when he moved to the right to allow Fati to lead the line. Now has just one goal in his last 11 away games.
Another player who was far from his best against Osasuna. Tasked with providing a burst of energy, Rafinha was contained by Nacho Vidal easily and was anonymous for much of his stay on the pitch. Taken off for Arthur, which turned out to be an inspirational decision.
Ansu Fati: 7.5/10
Making only his second appearance for Barcelona, Fati showed the instincts of a star at his peak at times. Nodded home Barcelona’s opening goal to make history, becoming the youngest goalscorer in the club’s history.
Looked at home both on the left flank and while playing in a central role. Has a lot of great things in store for him in the future. Already a fan favourites, the 16-year-old should see more opportunities coming his way this season.
Introduced early into the second half, Arthur showed exactly what Barcelona were missing in the first half. The Brazilian sliced open the resilient Osasuna defence with a lot of ease at times, begging the question why he was not started in the first place.
His goal was a thing of beauty as well, creating space for himself with a scintillating swivel and turn. Should now be given a chance to impress from the start post the international break.
? — Arthur vs Osasuna (after 80 days of no playtime):
37 minutes played
96% pass accuracy
2 key passes
1 big chance created
4/4 succesfull dribbles
6/8 duels won
It is time to understand that this man is key. pic.twitter.com/2lwxXNjVTM
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) August 31, 2019
Arturo Vidal: N/A
Vidal replaced de Jong late on and did not have much time to make an impact.