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Barcelona 5-0 Espanyol

10 September, 2017, 13:20 | Author: Glenda Knight
  • Ernesto Valverde banks on debutant Ousmane Dembele to make instant impact against Espanyol

Lionel Messi. While the Argentina number 10 was at least a yard offside when collecting a pass from Ivan Rakitic to open the scoring, he remained at the heart of everything Barcelona produced going forwards.

There were some dicey moments for Valverde's men at the back but the Camp Nou faithful were able to lap up Ousmane Dembele's second half debut with the points safe, even if chants calling for the resignation of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu tempered a goal-laden finale.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde brought record signing Ousmane Dembele into the game directly after the goal, but it was Gerard Pique who scored Barca's fourth of the game with a powerful header five minutes from time.

Reigning champions Real Madrid are four points behind Barca after they dropped points for the second game in a row as Ivi's early opener earned Levante their share of the spoils from a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.

As expected, it was Barcelona that took control of the early possession, but aside from a Messi effort, which flew harmlessly over the crossbar, Espanyol restricted the hosts to very little inside the opening 15 minutes.

Alba cut the ball back and Messi was in the right place to stab it wide of goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

Espanyol almost pulled a goal back just before the break when Pablo Piatti rattled the upright from the edge of the box.

LLUIS GENE  GettyImages
LLUIS GENE GettyImages

Suarez was back in the Barcelona line-up despite an injury scare while on global duty but was not enjoying himself in front of goal as much as Messi.

Espanyol were being outplayed but retained a sporadic threat, with Pique and Samuel Umtiti diverting Leo Batistao's 61st-minute shot behind. The Argentine found Suarez who laid a pass onto the path of Jordi Alba.

If Barcelona win the title this season, it'll be mostly because of Messi, who is probably just a bit past his peak, but is also probably still the best footballer in the world, and completely capable of carrying this less heralded Barcelona team to a title that for the first time in ages would be considered a surprise.

Barcelona have won 13 consecutive games at home in La Liga, their best run since January 2014 (25).

Lionel Messi (18) is the all-time top scorer in Catalonian derbies in La-Liga.

Messi put Barcelona on their way with the opening goal after 26 minutes, although he looked to have been offside.

Espanyol have just one point from their two games in La Liga so far, having drawn 1-1 at Sevilla and lost 1-0 at home to Leganes.

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