Barcelona 3-0 Elche: Memphis Depay scored first goal of the season as Lewandowski scored a brace.
Barcelona faced the relegation-threatened Elche at Spotify Camp Nou in the sixth La Liga matchday. All eyes were on the hosts since it was the Blaugranas’ first game following their loss to Bayern in Germany to see how they would react that evening.
Frenkie de Jong, Kessie, and Pedri were all given the start by Xavi in midfield, while Memphis Depay received a rare start in the final third. Jules Kounde and Alex Balde started as the right and left backs, respectively, while Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo started as the center backs.
Barcelona took control of the game and the possession from the outset. Elche only had the ball for a few minutes here and there throughout the entire game, with the Catalans controlling it for about 80% of it.
The game took a predictable turn in the fourteenth minute, giving Xavi’s team a definite lead. After Gonzalo Verdu denied Robert Lewandowski an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, the visitors were relegated to 10 men.
The Catalans didn’t get their first real chances of the game until maybe around the 25th minute. However, once Barcelona turned up the heat, there was no going back.
Through their talismanic striker Lewandowski, the hosts took the lead they deserved in the 35th minute. Alejandro Balde, a young player, deserves praise for the goal after he centered the ball for Lewy to finish easily.
Barcelona scored their second goal of the game just six minutes later. Balde started the action once more by sending a pinpoint pass to Depay in front of the goal. The Dutch player slyly squirmed by his defender before turning and slamming the ball into the net’s roof.
When Pedri caught the rebound of Lewy’s effort and put it in the goal in the 44th minute, it appeared as though the Blaugranas had scored their third goal of the contest. VAR disallowed the score due to offside, though.
The hosts’ start to the second half could not have been better as Lewandowski promptly gave them a 3-0 lead in the 48th minute. The Pole’s striker easily put a stray ball that was left over following Depay’s attempt into the bottom left corner.
Catalans had numerous opportunities to make it four. Lewy might have scored his second season-high hat-trick. But Elche managed to maintain their three-goal deficit and put up a strong defense.
During the game, Xavi was replaced by Gavi, Ansu Fati, Hector Bellerin, Raphinha, and Ferran Torres. All five of the players had important roles to play in the second half, so it goes without saying that the changes were a breath of fresh air for the team.
Barcelona won the match 3-0, temporarily taking the top spot in the La Liga standings. Now, everyone will be watching tomorrow’s Madrid derby to see if Diego Simeone’s team can defeat Real Madrid.