Barcelona finished their preseason preparations with their third win in three games, beating Elche 1-0 at Camp Nou to win the 2020 Joan Gamper Trophy thanks to an early goal for Antoine Griezmann. Barça looked slow and boring in the first half but turned up the heat in the second, with enough positive signs to be somewhat optimistic for the season debut next week.
Elche are a newly-promoted La Liga side playing against the mighty Barcelona at Camp Nou, and that’s exactly how the first half felt like. The visitors offered no danger and just hoped to stop Barça from scoring, while the Blaugrana had all of the ball and tried to break down a parked bus.
It took only two minutes for Barça to open the scoring thanks to a genius pass from Lionel Messi, a lovely run by Jordi Alba and a smart finish from Antoine Griezmann, but that was about it in terms of well constructed attacking plays from the Catalans. Barça were as slow and boring in possession as they were under Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setién, and there was zero excitement for the rest of the half.
At halftime, Barça had the lead and were playing okay, but okay is not good enough.
Barça were NOT slow and boring in the second half. Actually quite the opposite: the Blaugrana were quick, hungry and intense with their pressing, and very direct whenever they had the ball. Ansu Fati was heavily involved and created at least four chances. He was later replaced by Ousmane Dembélé, who came on and looked really sharp.
Francisco Trincão also played in the second half and brought a lot of energy and skill as well, and Barça had a bunch of really good scoring opportunities but couldn’t beat Elche keeper Badia in the first 30 minutes of the final period.
Elche looked for an equalizer in the final minutes and a had a big chance that forced Neto to make a very good save, but that was the only opportunity for the visitors in the entire game. The final whistle came to end a solid team performance, including a very good second half. This team will most likely be slow and boring again, but there’s enough young talent to make this season fun. If Ronald Koeman lets them stay at the club, of course.
Barcelona: Neto; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets (Pjanic 63’), De Jong; Griezmann (Trincão 63’), Coutinho (Pedri 79’), Ansu Fati (Dembélé 63’); Messi
Goals: Griezmann (2’)
Elche: Badia; Verdu, Calvo, Josema; Mfulu, Morente, Chaves, Josan; Nino, Jonny, Milla