After the disappointing result in Munich, Barcelona was back once again, this time to play Elche and attempt to take another three points domestically.
Barca needed a quick start to get their goal scoring juices flowing again. Especially after the shambolic finishing performance on Tuesday night against Bayern.
How did Barca fare?
Let’s find out.
The first 15 minutes of the first half consisted of Barca prodding and trying to create scoring chances. There wasn’t a lot of concrete action, but Barcelona did dominate possession and prevented Elche from leaking out on the counter attack when an opportunity became apparent.
Within those 15 minutes though, we did see a notable event. As Robert Lewandowski was trying to reach a ball with green grass ahead of him, an Elche defender pulled him down with something you can call a rugby tackle.
The defender was immediately shown a red card, and despite pushback from other members of Elche, the referee stood by his decision to cut Elche down to 10 men in Barcelona.
15 more minutes passed, with Barca continuing their attempt at creating whatever chance they could create. There were certainly good ideas and good spells of attacking play, but the end results were never dangerous enough to warrant any concern from Elche.
Around the 30 minute mark, Barca were still looking a little lackadaisical. The attacking play was fine, but it still needed a spark to get it going.
Luckily for Barca, they found that spark in the 34th minute. As Lewandowski added another goal to his already impressive La Liga tally.
Lewandowski scores again
Lewandowski scored Barca’s first goal of the match in his own typical fashion.
A streaking Alejandro Balde received a good pass from Pedri down the flank. Balde then squared the ball across the face of goal and found Lewandowski. Who was sitting in his natural striker’s spot deep and close to the net.
All Lewandowski had to do was carefully tap it home and that he did.
Barca finally had their lead and hopefully their goal scoring mojo. They needed more goals to quickly put the match out of reach. Not only to seal their win, but to also give more players opportunities before the dreaded international break.
Fortunately for them, they were able to find a second goal before halftime. And it came from none other than the flashy Dutch forward.
Memphis Depay scores
It was Memphis Depay that scored Barca’s second goal and it was a beautiful one.
Balde once again was the facilitator, as he found Depay boxing out his man inside Elche’s penalty area. Depay then took a touch, gauged his position, then flicked the ball forward while discarding his man in the process.
Depay then set up for his shot and absolutely struck it with beauty. The goal gave Barca a 2-0 lead, but all eyes were on the instant replay of Depay’s magical moment.
This type of quality is what Depay can bring to the table. But his delivery and un-Barca like style keep him on the bench behind the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha, Ferran Torres, and Ansu Fati.
It’s a shame, because any club would love to have the skill he possesses. But for now, he’s at Barca, ready to deliver whenever his number is called.
Just like he did today.
Barca wanted to score more though. And it appeared they did just before halftime, by way of a goal from Pedri.
But after a look at VAR, it was determined Pedri was offsides. The goal was disallowed, and with that, halftime arrived.
Barca found their groove later than normal, but better late than never. As any extended period of no goals would hurt Barca extensively. As Elche would have no problem sitting back and fighting for a point vs Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
The second half was sure to be electric. But only if Barca continued to apply the intensity that was shown in the first half.
How did Barca respond?
Let’s just say the action was a bit more subdued.
As I say that though, Barca did find another goal early in the second half.
Lewandowski bags another brace
The Polish superstar once again found the back of the net. It wasn’t a flashy goal nor was it extremely notable. But it was a necessary clean up goal that strikers generally love to score.
After a Dembele cross, there was a mad scramble to put a shot on target. Depay attempted to do so, but with no luck.
The ball then rolled around and somehow found the feet of Lewandowski. Who slammed his shot home and gave Barca a well deserved 3-0 lead.
The goal was Lewandowski’s eighth of the domestic season and gave him a three goal lead atop the Pichichi standings.
The goal also gave Barca a chance to relax and enjoy possession. With that also comes less chances and more of a coasting feeling.
Barca was happy with their lead and wanted to do nothing to jeopardize it. So they simply played a little intense brand of football and quietly sailed their way to the end of the match.
It was a 3-0 win for Barca. An important win as well, as the victory temporarily gave Barca the pole position on the La Liga table.
Barring the result of Real Madrid’s match with Atletico Madrid, Barca could end the weekend as league leaders. Which would be an encouraging early season accomplishment for Xavi and his revamped Barca project.
This was a performance we expected from Barca.
After the disappointment in Munich, Barca needed to get off the ground running. That meant no shenanigans against Elche, just intense play and clinical finishing to score the necessary goals.
With this match in the books, the international break is now upon us. Barca won’t play again until October 1st against Mallorca, but that isn’t the issue here.
Last season, Barca had a problem regaining their form after the late season international break. Xavi and his staff have to be attentive to that and make sure Barca doesn’t miss a step when the break ends.
However, the possibility of that occurring appears low. Since this staff has more experience and quality at their disposal than before.
We’ll just have to see what happens.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match is against Mallorca on October 1st.
See you all then!