Barcelona continued their unbeaten start to the La Liga season and will be top of the table for at least 24 hours thanks to a dominant 3-0 win over Elche at the Spotify Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon. The Blaugrana were much the better team for all 90 minutes against an Elche side that played the final 75 with 10 men after an early red card, and the home team scored three goals to win a fifth straight game in the league.
Elche came out with their best attacking players on the bench and a very defensive 5-4-1 formation designed to park the bus and frustrate the Barça attack. The plan was working until the 14th minute, when Gonzalo Verdú brought down Robert Lewandowski as the striker was running through on goal. Verdú got a red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, and Elche found themselves down to 10 men.
After the sending off, it was all about survival for the visitors as Barça began launching a blitz of constant attacks, crosses and shots to try and break down the Elche backline. It took a while and a few good chances, but the goals finally came: the first was a tap-in for Lewandowski after a brilliant pass from Pedri and an assist from Alejandro Balde, and the second came off another assist by Balde to find Memphis Depay who fired a rocket into the net off the crossbar to make it 2-0.
Barça got a third with a tap-in from Pedri, but the goal was called off by VAR for an offside by the young midfielder. The halftime whistle came shortly after, and Barça went into the break in full control with a two-goal lead and the win virtually in the bag. Could they make the score bigger in the second half?
Barça made sure there would be no stress in the second half by sealing the win just three minutes into the period: after a cross from Ousmane Dembélé wasn’t properly cleared by the Elche defense, Lewandowski scored another easy one on the rebound to get his second of the afternoon and Barça’s third of the game.
The rest of the period was a cruise for the Blaugrana and Xavi Hernández made all five substitutions to give other plays some good minutes, and the team continued to attack and look for more goals to send the home crowd happy.
There were big chances for Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Ronald Araujo, but the fourth goal just wouldn’t go in as we reached the final 10 minutes. There were no other goals scored, and the final whistle came to confirm the Barça win.
This was as easy as it gets for a Barça team that showed their superiority and played really dominant football after the early red card. Championship teams win these games without any trouble, and it’s good to see the Blaugrana winning a few matches in that fashion already this season.
The Catalans could finish the weekend in first place with a little help from Atlético Madrid on Sunday, and Xavi’s men rebounded quickly from the Bayern Munich loss to go into the international break enjoying some good vibes. Well done, boys!
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Eric (Bellerín 60’), Balde; Kessie (Gavi 46’), De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé (Raphinha 60’), Lewandowski (Ferran 72’), Memphis (Ansu Fati 59’)
Goals: Lewandowski (34’, 48’), Memphis (41’)
Elche: Badia; Palacios, Nwankwo, Verdú, Bigas (González 78’), Clerc; Morente (Ponce 68’), Guti (Nico 53’), Gumbau, Fidel (Quina 53’); Boyé (Josan 68’)
Red Card: Verdú (14’)