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Five talking points from Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

Luis Suarez was the match-winner for the hosts

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barca pick up unwanted first-half record

After a vibrant performance against Villarreal on Sunday Barcelona looked a shadow of themselves at the Camp Nou and didn’t threaten at all in the first half.

Quique Setien kept faith with Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in attack but not one of his forwards, or anyone else for that matter, managed a single shot on target in the first half.

Suarez did manage to find a winner after the break by which time both sides bad been reduced to 10 men, but this was a deflating showing following the optimism of the weekend which suggested the new boss had finally found the right formula.

Luis Suarez overtakes Kubala’s record

Suarez’s goal was his 195th in a Barcelona shirt which means he moves into third place in the club’s list of all-time leading goalscorers.

The Uruguay international continues to get plenty of criticism thrown his way, and will probably get more before the season’s out, but it’s still an extraordinary achievement.

He only joined the club in 2014 but has now outscored club legends such as Kubala and Josep Samitier as well as more more recent stars such as Samuel Eto’o and Rivaldo.

Suarez is only 37 goals behind Cesar Rodriguez, who is on 232, in second place on the list, while Lionel Messi is completely out of reach at the top of the pile.

Ansu handed tough lesson

While it was a good night for Suarez it was a tough one for Ansu Fati who arrived at half-time and departed four minutes and 47 seconds later because of a red card.

On first look it seemed a harsh decision but television replays showed the youngster had been reckless, and it was little surprise when VAR upgraded his booking to a red card.

The dismissal is the only blot on what’s been a brilliant season for the youngster and means he will now be forced on to the sidelines through suspension.

Setien’s comments after the game suggest Ansu will learn from what will be a tough lesson for the 17-year-old.

“He was very humble afterwards. He came to talk to me. He felt very bad about what happened. He’ll be affected by this and we’ll see what the punishment is but it’s a moment that I don’t blame him for.”

The match looked perfectly set for Ansu to make an impact but unfortunately it wasn’t to be and he can now expect a ban. Sport are hopeful it will be just one game not three.

Barca wave goodbye to Espanyol

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Wednesday’s result of course means that Barcelona confirmed Espanyol’s relegation after a long stay in the top flight. It’s been a dreadful season for Los Periquitos who have won just five matches all season.

It’s a far cry from last season when they actually finished the campaign in seventh place in the table and secured qualification for the Europa League. Yet this time around the team have been dreadful and a succession of managers haven’t been able to prevent the drop.

Barcelona are unlikely to miss their rivals too much, and some fans celebrated Espanyol’s demised by letting off fireworks outside the Camp Nou. On this evidence it may take a while before they are back in the top flight.

Barca cut gap to one point

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Although the title looks destined for Real Madrid the win does mean that Barcelona have put a little pressure on Los Blancos ahead of their match with Alaves on Friday.

The gap has been reduced to just one and if Zinedine Zidane’s side do drop points for the first time since the restart it will add another twist to the title race.

Real Madrid play Alaves on Friday and then have games against Granada and Villarreal before finishing off away at Leganes.

Barcelona are back in action on Saturday away at Real Valladolid before taking on Osasuna and Alaves in their final two games.

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