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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Ansu Fati brushes off tough week as Barcelona beat Elche

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Robert Lewandowski scored twice and Ansu Fati netted his first league objective since October as Barcelona beat Elche 4-0 on the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on Saturday.

Ferran Torres added the fourth objective as Barca prolonged their lead on the prime of LaLiga to fifteen factors, with second-placed Actual Madrid attributable to host Actual Valladolid on Sunday.

With simply 11 video games to go, Barca are shifting more and more nearer to a primary league title since 2019, whereas Elche, 13 factors adrift on the backside, want a miracle to keep away from relegation to the second division.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, extra (U.S.)


Speedy response

1. Ansu wanted a objective at finish of adverse week

Essentially the most important objective of Barca’s 4 was the one scored by Ansu. He has dominated media protection in Catalonia this week after his dad, Bori, gave an interview by which he mentioned he thought he ought to go away Barca seeking extra minutes. Bori was talking as a father. He mentioned he understood the competitors for locations was fierce and that Xavi Hernandez had guided Barca to a commanding lead on the prime of the desk, however he identified his son was the one chosen to inherit Lionel Messi‘s No. 10 shirt.

In opposition to Elche, with Ousmane Dembele injured and Raphinha suspended, Ansu got here into the aspect. Regardless of Bori’s qualms, the numbers haven’t lied just lately. The Spain ahead was with no league objective since October and with no objective in any competitors since January — a run spanning 12 video games. That didn’t seem like altering within the first half.

Nonetheless, Ansu, nonetheless solely 20, took his second within the second half, selecting up the ball on the midway line and being allowed to run in the direction of the field, the place he produced a superb end into the underside nook. It is the type of objective which Barca, Ansu and Bori will all assist can change the teenager’s fortunes and earn him extra minutes within the coming months.

Ansu’s objective was sandwiched by two Lewandowski strikes. The Polish striker has not been in crimson scorching type just lately however now has 17 targets in LaLiga — a league excessive — and, like Ansu, his confidence must be boosted forward of Wednesday’s Clasico in opposition to Actual Madrid within the semifinal of the Copa del Rey (stream the match on ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET).

2. Xavi tinkers with lineup forward of Copa Clasico

On the again of the worldwide break, and with Actual Madrid to return on Wednesday, Barcelona made 5 adjustments to the workforce which received the LaLiga Clasico on the finish of March. Most apparently, Eric Garcia, a centre-back, was used as a defensive midfielder. He did nicely however greater exams will come if he’s to transition to this place completely.

Additional ahead, Ferran got here in on the correct wing and likewise handed the check. One positive cross on the finish of the primary half deserved a objective — Lewandowski couldn’t convert — and he took his personal objective very well within the second interval. Afterward, there was a debut for 19-year-old midfielder Aleix Garrido.

Xavi’s adjustments had been primarily influenced by accidents. Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, Andreas Christensen had been all lacking with knocks. De Jong may very well be again to face Madrid; the opposite three are unlikely to function. Raphinha will return from suspension, although, whereas Sergio Busquets and Alejandro Balde will profit from a relaxation right here.

3. Elche’s sixth coach this season however identical consequence

Sebastian Beccacece sat within the Elche dugout on Saturday to grow to be the sixth coach to supervise a sport this season. The consequence, nevertheless, was acquainted to the house followers: one other loss. They’ve now received simply two of their 27 LaLiga video games look set to drop into the second tier of Spanish soccer.

On this exhibiting, they’re going down with out a lot of a battle, too. They had been far too passive in defence, permitting Ansu and Ferran to attain just about unchallenged. Barca won’t have a better time between now and the tip of the season.

As soon as 4-0 down, they did have a go late on, even hitting the bar, however it was far too little and much too late — for this sport and for the season.


Finest and worst performers

BEST: Gavi, Barcelona.
Regardless of being 18, he was the veteran of Barca’s midfield with De Jong and Busquets not on the pitch — and he performed prefer it.

BEST: Ferran Torres, Barcelona.
Gave Carlos Clerc a torrid time, scored one objective, assisted one.

BEST: Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona.
Scored a brace and created Ferran’s objective with a positive go.

WORST: Omar Mascarell, Elche.
Made an excellent block on a Kounde shot however, at this degree, you can not let Ansu run via like he did for the second objective.

WORST: Carlos Clerc, Elche.
The left-back struggled to familiarize yourself with Ferran.

WORST: Jose Angel Carmona, Elche.
The defender performed in midfield however couldn’t have an effect on the sport after which injured himself racing on to a via ball.


Highlights and notable moments

After a tough week amid season-long struggles, you may inform what that objective meant for Ansu Fati.

Robert Lewandowski entered the sport with no objective in three league matches. He ensured that streak did not attain 4.


After the match: What the gamers/managers mentioned

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez on Ansu Fati: “Scoring at all times breeds confidence for forwards. Every little thing got here off completely at this time. Ansu was drained on the finish, he did a variety of work. He’s a extremely necessary play for me. The objective is a consequence of his exhausting work and his expertise. I’m particularly joyful for him, for Ferran [Torres]… those that deserved to attain have scored tonight.”

Xavi on defender Eric Garcia’s function in midfield: “It was [sporting director] Jordi Cruyff’s thought, he has been saying it since final season, that he thinks he has the attributes to play there. We had a pleasant sport with the B workforce and he did nicely there. It was an amazing efficiency at this time. We might have an amazing pivot on our arms.”

Xavi on Aleix Garrido debut: “He has the Barcelona profile. Technically he’s gifted, he has an excellent closing go… It’s nonetheless early however he’s a participant I like.”


Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats and Data)

– Barcelona has 19 clear sheets this season, essentially the most via 27 matchdays by any workforce in LaLiga historical past.

– That is Barcelona’s fifth sport scoring no less than 4 targets in LaLiga this season. Three of these video games have been on the highway, tied with Bayern Munich and Napoli for many such away video games within the High 5 European leagues.


Up subsequent

Elche: Their dismal marketing campaign continues with Osasuna paying a go to on April 8 (on ESPN+, 8 a.m. ET).

Barcelona: Again on the Camp Nou on Wednesday to host the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinals conflict in opposition to Clasico rivals Actual Madrid (stream the match on ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET). Barcelona go into the match with a one-goal benefit as they intention to proceed their goal of two trophies.

Following that sport, again to LaLiga motion in opposition to Girona on April 10 (stream the match on ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET).



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