In favor of the current, Barça signed a very good comeback due to the variety of the forwards lined up at the Martínez Valero. The offensive richness compensated for the weakness of the defenses in a very demanding game due to the bravery of Elche. The people of Elche only gave up after neither the referee nor the VAR appreciated a two-handed penalty from Alba and Busquets. The irritation is explained by the doubts of the plays and because before the referee had sanctioned with the maximum penalty a blow with the arm of Barragán in a boarding school in Memphis.
Edgar, Diego González, Mojica, Barragán, Enzo Roco, Tete Morente (Ezequiel Ponce, min. 64), Fidel (Josan, min. 77), Omar Mascarell (Kike, min. 84), Raúl Guti (Marcone, min. 78 ), Pere Milla and Lucas Boyé (Guido Carrillo, min. 64)
Ter Stegen, Ronald Araújo, Piqué, Alba, Alves (Sergiño Dest, min. 84), Frenkie De Jong (Nico González, min. 68), Busquets, Pedri, Ousmane Dembélé (Adama Traoré, min. 74), Gavi (Ferrán Torres, min. 45) and Aubameyang (Depay, min. 74)
goals 1-0 min. 43: Fidel. 1-1 min. 59: Ferran Torres. 1-2 minutes 83: Depay.
Referee Alexander Jose Hernandez Hernandez
Yellow cards Ronald Araújo (min. 48), Barragán (min. 55), Ousmane Dembélé (min. 57), Ezequiel Ponce (min. 66), Alves (min. 71), Nico González (min. 72), Piqué (min. 81) and Depay (min. 95)
red cards Shepherd (min. 87)
The Dutch then certified the superiority of Barcelona. The azulgrana had 20 shots and Elche’s best player was Edgar Badía. The goalkeeper was defeated after Xavi changed his forwards until reaching 1-2. Barça has won footballers in winter and the increase in resources encourages competitiveness and favors variety and surprise to overcome tough opponents like Elche.
Barcelona looked for Aubameyang to start and Elche turned around Lucas Boyé. The Gabonese was not inspired and the Argentine stood out as a marker for Busquets. In the absence of a clean exit from the leather from the midfielder, the azulgrana stretched with Piqué’s changes of direction, Pedri’s passes and Dembélé’s unchecking. The winger attacked the space well from the right side to try to connect with Aubameyang. Both have come together at Barça after matching at Borussia Dortmund. The association, however, did not end because the game was as intense and vertical as it was imprecise in a game with a lot of rhythm due to the physical and tactical strength of an Elche cheered on by the fervent fans that filled the Martínez Valero.
Hardly any shots were counted until Frenkie de Jong preferred to accompany the ball to shoot with the defeated goalkeeper after a transition set up by Dembélé. Diego González rejected Badía’s shot at the goal line. On the counterattack, always opting for Dembélé’s side, Barcelona found a piece of the field and a bit of air to attack Francisco’s team. The coach has hardened a team without tickling, rough in his field, quick in transition, selective in attack, reliable at Martínez Valero. Pere Milla’s movements and Mojica’s tackles on Alves’ side did not stop tormenting Barça.
The weakness of the Brazilian’s back encouraged Elche. Tete Morente did not hit a free shot after Frenkie De Jong failed again in a one-on-one with Badía. The midfielder has been released after reaching the status of starter, excellent in driving and soft in the shot, as if he were not aware of the importance of anticipating on the scoreboard, especially against opponents like Elche. De Jong’s leniency contrasted with the viciousness of Fidel, who mercilessly attacked a bad back pass from Pedri after a goal service and crossed to Ter Stegen’s left. The goal did not reach a ball poorly defended by Alves.
With equal opportunities, Elche had been more effective, nothing demanded from their right wing due to the low presence of Alba and Gavi, replaced by Ferran. Barça needed to open the field, after the bet on the four midfielders did not work, and Xavi brought in the former City striker, who started in the eight games played since he arrived at the Camp Nou. The change led to a more open and appetizing duel also for Elche, who have no brakes when they can run, always aware of Barcelona’s lack of consistency, lacking a passing line through the block on Busquets.
Elche knew how to cheat the game, repetitively blocking, while Barça couldn’t find a way to finish off Badía’s goal. The tie came at the insistence of Dembélé. The depth and subsequent center of the winger finally found Alba’s left foot and Ferran’s right foot tip. The striker was reunited with the goal to later miss again with an easy shot in a move also favored by Alba. The offensive improvement of the Barcelona players, however, did not end with the repeated defensive concessions, well seen by Elche. Then Ter Stegen appeared to superbly reduce Pere Milla.
At the expense of Ter Stegen, the match seemed to be reduced to a Badía-Ferran duel with Adama and Memphis on the field replacing Dembélé and Aubameyang. The goalkeeper took two shots at the striker, exquisite in unchecking as false 9 and unfocused in front of goal, before Barragán touched the ball with his arm in an internship by exuberant Memphis. The VAR called the referee and Hernández Hernández whistled a penalty that transformed Memphis itself in an unappealable way.
The 1-2 did not reassure Barça. Xavi’s team doesn’t know how to defend in their area, they don’t cover the crosses, they concede easy shots and they have forgotten how to rest with the ball, exposed to any accident, as were the hands of Alba and Piqué, who were not sanctioned against the Martínez Valero’s outrage. Although the game ended with an ignored foul on Adama, Barça was very fragile before adding their fourth victory in a row with two goals that link yesterday with today: Ferran scored and Memphis, the top scorer in the times of Koeman, splendid in the Martínez Valero. Xavi has achieved, based on strikers, that Barça win the games that it must win in the League and in the Europa League and consolidate itself in the Champions Zone.