Valencia 1-4 Barcelona: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bags HAT TRICK

Pierre-Emerick For the first time in a Barcelona jersey, Aubameyang was over heels as Barcelona defeated Valencia 4-1 at Mestalla.

After the first goal, the former Arsenal striker scored a hat trick with his trademark acrobatic flip. In an outstanding all-around Barcelona effort, he also looked to duck in time to enable Pedri’s second-half rocket to touch the back of the net, with the referee giving the goal to the former Arsenal captain.

On 23 minutes, the former Arsenal striker surged free of Valencia’s high defensive line, was fed onside by right-back Dmitiri Foulquier, and shot the ball beyond Giorgi Mamardashvili after taking one touch to get the ball out of his foot.

He got the shot off only a fraction of a second before Valencia center-back Omar Alderete came with his challenge, and the ball sailed inside the near post of the goalkeeper. He was surrounded by teammates, including Ousmane Dembele, a former Borussia Dortmund teammate who was making his first start for Xavi since his transfer window spat with the club. Xavi constantly said in private that he wanted to keep choosing Dembele, and the Belgian returned Xavi’s trust with the pass for the wonderful second goal.

Jordi Alba, who had put Aubameyang through, wonderfully dropped the ball into space for Dembele, who selflessly fizzed it back across the face of goal, where Frenkie de Jong came crashing in to score from six yards out.

Valencia was in trouble, trailing 2-0 after 32 minutes and 3-0 after 38 minutes. Dembele was involved once more, this time assisting Gavi, who crossed for Aubameyang’s second goal of the match. While his position was examined, the restart was postponed. Barcelona were flying and he was calm.

Before the interval, Valencia almost equalised when Soler volleyed in from within the box after Alba’s extended hand redirected Hugo Guillamon’s header to him. The ball had gone out during the build-up, therefore referee Carlos del Cerro Grande allowed a throw-in after examining the image pitchside.

At the start of the second half, Soler was unstoppable. Bryan Gil crossed from the left flank, and the midfielder headed the ball past Marc Andre ter Stegen with a bullet header.

Soler then fired another shot that was barely wide of the target. He was on a one-man quest to reintroduce the home team to the game.

However, Pedri had replaced Frenkie de Jong, and when his attempt from the edge of the box flew past Aubameyang and past Mamardashvili, Valencia’s prospects of coming back into the game were much fewer.

It didn’t stop them from charging forward, as Ter Stegen had to preserve Uros Racic’s line.

Hugo Duro forced a fantastic save from Ter Stegen at the opposite end after Aubameyang wasted the chance to clinch his hat-trick.

Valencia remained a danger, but Xavi, who isn’t known for shutting down games, brought in Adama Traore and Luuk de Jong.

Valencia went down fighting in the fifth minute of additional time, with the brilliant Gil still charging at the visitors’ defence. There had not been a three-goal deficit. Barça’s stunning attacking play, on the other hand, had been more merciless with their opportunities. To advance in the Europa League, they must do the same on Thursday in Naples.