Barcelona produced a fine display as they put their off-field woes behind them to beat Levante 3-0 at the Camp Nou.
The Catalans were without Ronald Koeman after he was suspended after his sending off against Cadiz but led by Memphis Depay and supported by young gems Nico Gonzalez and Gavi in midfield, it was all too easy for Barca as goals from Depay himself and his compatriot Luuk de Jong sealed the three points.
Depay would torment Jorge Miramon at right-back for Levante; supported ably by stand-in left-back Sergino Dest, with the American a constant threat on the overlap with his directness and willingness to adapt to the attacking scenario and underlap onto his stronger right foot when needed.
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It would be the case for Barca's opener on six minutes - Dest the decoy over-lapper, Depay cutting infield, weaving inside with wonderful footwork, felled for a penalty which he aptly converted.
Dest would turn provider for the second just eight minutes later, exploiting the space left infield by the visiting midfield block, and the former Ajax man had the awareness to drive onwards, before sliding a great ball through for de Jong to finish with aplomb.
Aitor Fernandez was on hot form for Paco Lopez's side, who found their goal peppered heavily by shot volume - predominantly from Depay - but Barcelona would continue to batter on the door in search of a third as Levante looked dead and buried from the offset.
Ansu Fati made his long-anticipated return off the substitutes' bench with 10 minutes to go, with a rousing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd, and he wrote himself back into the headlines after a very difficult 10 months out with a fantastic finish late on to make it 3-0.
Barcelona proved that, despite being ravaged by injuries, their shoestring squad will still mean business this season.
TALKING POINT - BARCA BRILLIANT
In a game where one could have looked at the teamsheet and thought at most of the names, 'who?', it was quite a scintillating performance.
The youngsters fielded by the home side today were exceptional: namely Nico and Gavi in midfield, who look just as senior as Sergio Busquets in the engine room.
Gavi was adventurous in his passing and his ball carrying, while Nico sat beside his captain and did the dirty work, putting a solid shift in as his 17-year old team-mate supported Philippe Coutinho ably down the right, allowing the Brazilian to move more centrally to impact the game.
Gavi would show his own skills - a couple of mesmerising runs found him clean through - but both times he was thwarted by Fernandez.
On this performance from Gavi and Nico alone, La Masia is far from empty when it comes to young starlets.
MAN OF THE MATCH - MEMPHIS DEPAY
Gavi was good, Depay was electric.
In the first half, nearly everything Barcelona created went through their flying Dutchman, as he tormented not just Miramon, but Shkodran Mustafi as well down the Levante right,
He was, as aforementioned, supported well by Dest on the overlap, but it was Depay's directness, willingness to come deep as well as get in behind, that made it a complete performance from a man who hadn't been playing with much confidence in recent weeks, but today will certainly lay down a marker for the next weeks ahead.
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Barcelona: ter Stegen 6, Mingueza 6, Pique 6, Garcia 6, Dest 8, Busquets 6, Nico 7, Gavi 8. Depay 9, de Jong 7, Coutinho 7, Puig 7, Araujo 6, Fati 7, Demir 6.
Levante: Fernandez 8, Miramon 5, Mustafi 6, Postigo 6, Clerc 5, de Frutos 5, Radoja 5, Pepelu 5, Melero 5, Gomez 5, Marti 5, Morales 5, Martinez 5, Cantero 5, Vukcevic 5, Rober 5.
5': PENALTY! Memphis Depay continues Barca's bright start. Excellent trickery down the left channel from the Dutchman, weaving his way into the box, before being clipped.
6': GOAL!!! Depay dusts himself down, and takes the kick... scoring with aplomb. Aitor Fernandez goes the wrong way, 1-0.
14': GOALLLL!!! Another fine move from Barcelona. It started deep, moving it quickly and through the lines of Levante; Dest drove down the left-hand side, driving inside, before finding Luuk de Jong, who had evaded the attentions of Sergio Postigo, before firing past Aitor Fernandez. 2-0.
22': Depay over this next corner for Barca, short to Coutinho... his cross is deflected towards Pique!! How's he not scored at the back post?? What a miss!
90': GOAL!!! It's him! After so long! Ansu Fati is back with a goal. What an emotional moment, what a finish. No chance for Aitor. 3-0.
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