Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol: 3 things we learned | LaLiga 2018-19
Barcelona beat their city rivals 2-0 to remain firmly at the top of the LaLiga table. Barca now have 69 points from 29 matches whereas Espanyol have 34 from 29 games. Lionel Messi scored a brace to earn the vital three points for Barca yet again.
Barca dominated the match and had more than 70% ball possession. However, Espanyol penetrated into the Barca penalty box on a few occasions but could trouble Ter Stegen much. It was an important win for Barca, who stretched their lead over the second-placed Atletico Madrid to 13 points.
On that note, here we take a look at the 3 things we learned from the game.
#1 Espanyol defended well for the first 70 minutes
Espanyol were not overawed by their mighty opposition and fought really hard for the first 70 minutes. They played a 5-4-1 formation and always had a number of players in the defensive third. Their defenders paid extra attention to Messi’s movements and did not allow him to take any shot at goal.
Barca fielded their customary 4-3-3 formation with Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, and Messi as their front three. Arthur Melo, Sergio Busquets, and Ivan Rakitic started in the midfield for them. However, Barca’s much-vaunted attack could not force their way through the Espanyol defense, and the first half ended goal-less.
Espanyol’s captain Victor Sanchez was somewhat responsible for Barca’s opening goal from a Messi free-kick but played well otherwise. He led their defense creditably against a strong Barca attack. Espanyol’s goalkeeper also made a few good saves to keep the Barca forwards at bay.
Espanyol also managed to trouble the Barca defense somewhat with counter-attacking moves. Oscar Melendo, Espanyol’s attacking midfielder, had a good match up front, and played some incisive through balls inside the Barca half.
However, it is almost impossible for any team to stop Barca from scoring at Camp Nou, and Espanyol too failed in their pursuit ultimately. However, their defenders earned some respect on the night.