Barcelona - Elche live online: goals, score and highlights, LaLiga Santander 2022/23
Barcelona vs Elche: how it happened
Barcelona 3-0 Elche: match report
Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski continued his insatiable run in front of goal by scoring twice while Memphis Depay also got on the scoresheet as the Catalans cruised to a 3-0 win at home to struggling Elche in LaLiga on Saturday.
The victory took Barça top of the standings on 16 points from six games although Real Madrid, on 15, can return to the summit if they win away to Atlético Madrid on Sunday.
Barcelona's task against the league's bottom side was made easier when Elche centre-back Gonzalo Verdu was sent off in the 14th minute for pulling Lewandowski's shirt as the striker was about to reach the area.
Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 34th minute, arriving deep in the area to knock in a cross from Alejandro Balde and score for the fifth consecutive game in LaLiga.
Memphis scored a magnificent goal to double Barcelona’s lead in the 41st minute while Lewandowski grabbed his second early in the second half, pouncing inside the area after Memphis had fought hard to win back the ball. (Reuters)
Barça on decent league run
As Sid reminds us, Xavi's disappointing opening day draw has been followed by an aggregate in five games of 18-1.
Peep, peep, peeeeep! That's it.
Barça stroll to victory over 10-man Elche and go top of LaLiga Santander for a few hours, at least.
Nice run from Bellerin, who's been lively since coming on, but the ball breaks kindly for Elche and it's safe. That could be the last of the action.
We're looking at a further three minutes here.
Pedri just loves a little lift assist, doesn't he?
His ability to spot and execute passes is reminiscent of his current manager.
The pace has dropped at the Camp Nou, as players accept a result that has not been in question since just after the half-hour mark.
Some of the fringe players still have a point to make and the last few minutes could see them create another opening or two.
Araujo, surely!! No! The defender is all alone in front of goal as the ball drops down off a deflected shot. He takes it early, with an acrobatic volley (technique could be questioned) and misses the target.
His head goes into his hands, as he knows that was a relative sitter.
Ansu Fati is a handful but his final pass and shot, or lack of either, is letting him down so far. Such an exciting talent.
Wait a minute! What's this? Elche have possession of the ball in Barça half and look like they may fancy doing something with it.
Ah no. That was a fleeting moment of silliness and the hosts are back down the other end with a menacing look about them.
More and more openings being made by the home side but the opportunities are not being taken.
Ansu Fati has put himself in a couple of promising positions down the inside left channel, and then his third appeared to be a mishit shot that flew across goal, his teammates unable to profit despite stretching.
And sure enough, the Polish striker is replaced by Ferran Torres. The Camp Nou crowd stand and applaud the contribution of their new hero.
Ooooh! I thought that was the Lewy treble but his strike, which he had to create himself under a lot of pressure from two defenders, flies over the bar.
And that may be his last touch...
Continued pressure, the hosts working the ball down one wing, then back, and down the other. It's all at a lively pace too.
The 9 white shirts of Elche (Badia is in blue!) continue to fight, cover, block and are doing a reasonable job.
The three new boys to the game combine to fashion another chance.
Bellerin brings the ball forward, links up with Raphinha, gets it back and crosses. Ansu Fati fancies the spectacular but his acrobatic volley is blocked. It's all a bit easy now, understandably given what's transpired.
Lewandowski almost with the hat-trick.
The ball is worked into the right side of the Elche box before being pulled back to the edge of the area. Again the Pole is all alone and steps onto it with purpose, striking sweetly only for Badia to block away again.
De Jong goes over the top from midfield as he sees the fresh legs of Bellerin scampering outside him down the right. The former Arsenal man is just inches from getting some expensive leather onto the ball to control it.
A triple change for Xavi as Memphis, Dembélé and Garcia are all yanked off, replaced by Bellerín, Raphinha and Ansu Fati
A great time to come on in a game that is already won and against 10 men. Possession is pushing 80%!
As Elche make a couple of substitutes (you can check out the details in the 'line-ups' section above) the game already feels like it could start to peter out.
The crowd want more goals, of course, but the fire of the contest has been extinguished. Will Barça push for a barrel-load?
GOAL!!! Lewandowski makes it three
There's not enough cover in the penalty area and as defenders are drawn to clear one threat, the Polish striker holds his position centrally. A quick pull back to him and he slides the ball into the corner.
This could be any score now.
As Barça begin their second half siege, their visitors get a chance to break forward. It comes to nothing but shows that very occasionally they may have a breather.
Peeep! Elche get us going again
OK, the players are heading out and we appear to have a change at the break.
Gavi has come on for Kessie.
The forward was handed his second start of the season and he's shown what he offers. Already there were signs that a close marker could be rolled and this was shown in all its beauty with a stunning strike to top it off.
He may not have been seen as the man to be the creator but Alex has shown the value he brings to this Xavi side when opposition teams sit back.
Two assists and a solid performance all round on the left-hand side.
The Polish striker was rather influential in that first half, with two of the most significant moments.
First, breaking through to latch onto a beautiful Pedri pass only to be pulled back and brought down, resulting in a red card for Verdu.
Then, he got himself into the right position at the right time, allowing him to tap home a Baldé cross.
Peeep! The whistle blows and we're off down the tunnel, the Elche players likely looking forward to giving Verdu a piece of their mind.
Araujo gets a rare chance at headline making. Another flowing move switches to Dembélé on the right who cuts the ball inside for the defender to strike. Just wide.
Five minutes to be added here. That seems about right given the medical treatment stoppages and the time lost in the sending off complaints.
GOA.... no! No sooner had Barça got back to business after celebrating than Pedri had the ball in the net. Floodgates and all that.
But then, after a quick VAR review, it was spotted that the young star had strayed. It remains 2-0... for the time being.
GOAL!! Memphis doubles the lead
What a brilliant roll of his man and blistering strike into the roof of the net. Making the most of his start.
That goal is unlikely to change much in this game, at least not for the moment. Elche continue in their attempts to stay in this game and will hope to get an opportunity to hit on the counter, something that has, as yet, been lacking.
The hosts keep looking for more...
GOAL!! Lewandowski taps home for the opener
As the blaugrana shirts surrounded the penalty area, the slick passing opened up space for Baldé on the inside left channel. His low cross was met for a simple tap in by the big Pole. Who else?!
We're back underway and Barça resume their position around the Elche area. A couple of switches ends with a clumsy Balde cross.
Reset and go again...
A stoppage in play here as Chetauya gets some attention. He's gone down in his own penalty area after a collision with Dembéle. Some suggestions that the Barça man may have caught him with a stray elbow.
Another big save from the 30-year-old keeper, De Jong getting decent power and direction towards the bottom right corner.
They're knocking at the door...
More and more pressure building on that Elche goal. Pedri and Memphis combine to allow the latter, with a slick roll of his close marker, to pull the trigger. It's going in but Badia blocks well with his legs.
Dembélé back involved and cuts inside after collecting short from a corner on the right. He targets the near posts but drags it a little wide.
If today's challenge wasn't hard enough that red card has suggested it's almost an impossible ask.
Dembélé on his own shows just how unstoppable he can sometimes be, leaving defenders in his wake as he turns on the afterburners. His cross is, after two attempts, frantically cleared. A goal is coming.
The free-kick is central and Depay tries to lift it over the defensive line for Lewandowski to run onto. It's just overhit and bounces into the arms of Badia.
RED CARD! Elche down to 10
Gonzalo Verdu is off as Alejandro Ruiz is having none of his excuses after pulling down Lewandowski who was clean through.
Watching the replay, the defender tries his best to make it look like he just fell on the striker, but he knew exactly what he was doing.
Again building through the middle, Dembélé links up with Lewandowski on the edge of the Elche area, the Frenchman hoping for a one-two but his strike partner getting it very wrong.
The blaugrana continue to look for openings as the play remains a fixture of just one half of the pitch. It's clear that although the wings are being targeted, when possible, the little dink passes over the last line of defence are also a clear tactic for this game.
Nothing doing as yet, with Elche's structure and workrate winning many of the battles.
Some observers suggest Kessie got away with that, and it should have been a red. Pretty sure Mr Roncero has no reason to shout 'conspiracy' though.
Early yellow for Kessie and Boye is needing some medical treatment. Those two facts may be related.
Dembélé has been a real handful for opposition defences this season - remember this is after months of speculation that he'd be leaving under a dark cloud - and he's the first to show a spark in this game.
Picking up the ball in his usual wide berth, the Frenchman jinks passed a couple of defenders before firing in a tempting cross. Not this time.
The hosts are clearly going to have the majority of the ball but have already shown their willingness, unlike previous versions of the team, to go long.
Memphis had his chance to chase down the left but it was well covered.
Barça get the ball rolling and no surprise to see the white-clad Elche players drop quickly into a defensive unit.
It's all about holding on in these early stages. Possession is not important, keeping the ball out of the net is.
Peeep!! We are off
Handshakes - check. Team photos - check. VAR room check - check.
Right, coin toss done and officials take their places. We are all set.
OK, the players are in the tunnel and we look like we may be about to get this show on the road. The famous club anthem - you know, the one that ends 'Barça, Barça, Barça' - rings out across the stadium to greet the two sets of stars.
The Elche threat
...some may ask if there really is one today, and I'd remind them that despite my hard earned pennies predicting a very comfortable home victory, I'm conscious that I've been wrong before... more than once!
Football, as a late great once said, is a funny old game, and we've seen plenty of shocks over the years. In the likes of Boyé, Elche could nick a goal to quieten the home crowd, but they're unlikely to be getting many chances so will have to be clinical. Holding out against the Barça attack is surely the main concern.
Barça warming up
The final workouts on the grass taking place before Xavi gives his "Let's get going from the first whistle!" type chat.
Lewandowski does goals
The Polish striker arrived at the Catalan club after a stunning career at Bayern and was seen as a vital element of the Xavi rebirth of a successful Barça, competing on all fronts. He has certainly shown that his knack for filling opposition nets wasn't confined to the German borders.
In his opening five league games, Lewandowski has scored six goals, one better than Falcao, Zlatan and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo in their first handful of matches upon arrival in LaLiga. And today you've got to fancy him for at least a brace (that's where my money lies, anyway!)
Where is Ansu Fati anyway?
One of the questions being asked upon seeing the home teamsheet surrounds the whereabouts of young superstar-in-the-making, Ansu Fati.
With the likes of Ferran and Depay being handed starts this season - two apiece - some fans are scratching their heads as to Xavi's thinking.
Just to be clear, the answer to the above question is 'on the bench'. Expect to see him strutting his stuff later in the game. Big chance for Memphis, though.
Starting XI: Elche
Badia, Palacios, Verdú, John, Bigas, Clerc, Gumbau, Raúl Guti, Tete Morente, Fidel, Boyé
Can this line-up keep the score respectable? Can they cause an upset and leave with a point or more? Kick-off getting closer...
Starting XI: Barcelona
Ter Stegen. Balde, Eric García, Araujo, Koundé, Pedri, De Jong, Kessié, Memphis, Dembélé, Lewandowski
That is a tasty looking front three...
Team news is imminent... I'll grab the home team first...
Gavi extension makes Xavi smile
As you may have heard, young Barça kid Gavi signed a new deal until 2026 and his boss Xavi Hernández was delighted:
“It is great news, the best news this week,” Xavi said in a press conference on Friday ahead of the game against Elche.
“He is a player for the present and the future. He’s already a leader, despite his age. He has character, passion... he’s a heart with legs.
“He plays with intensity, is capable of playing anywhere you put him, in different positions. And he has matured, he understands timing, his play is more fluid... great news.”
As it stands: Elche
Elche Football Club, for those unfamiliar with the more modest members of the Spanish top flight, hail from the province of Alicante, in the wider region of Valencia. The club was founded in 1923 and will be hoping to end this season, amidst the centenary celebrations, having secured their survival with the big boys.
It's not been a great start to the campaign though, with just a single point to show for their five games. Two goals for and 13 against give you even more of an idea as to why the bookies have a home banker lined up.
As it stands: Barcelona
As I mentioned, and no doubt as you're fully aware, the blaugrana team will be hoping to return to winnings ways after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday. That said, it was a much less humiliating defeat to the Bundesliga giants than we've seen in recent years.
That has been Xavi's only taste of defeat this season and after five league games in 2022/23, the Camp Nou outfit sit in second place on 13 points behind leaders Real Madrid, who have a 100% record this season. The only draw coming on the opening day as they hosted Rayo.
A win here takes them top, at least until we know the result of the Madrid derby.
No doubt you'll be staying with me throughout the game but if you're one of those demanding sorts who needs to actually see the action, then pull up another screen and click on the image above to be presented with your live viewing options.
From New York to New Zealand to Newton Mearns, we've got you covered.
Elche looking ahead
Possibly appropriately, Elche's equivalent gameday poster has three players to Barça's one. Does anyone give the visitors to the Camp Nou a prayer today?
As we build up to kick off, I'll bring you a few of the selections made by various social media managers. Here's the FCB account highlighting one of the potential match winners.
Who do you think will turn out to be the main man?
Barcelona vs Elche live: welcome
Hello and a very warm welcome to you as we begin our build up to the LaLiga Santander clash at Camp Nou where Barcelona host Elche.
Following a disappointing European defeat in midweek, manager Xavi Hernández will be keen to get his side firing on all cylinders once again as they look to maintain their pressure on rivals Real Madrid in top spot. And they couldn't have asked for a more ideal opponent as they take on the league's bottom team at home.
Stay with me throughout the next few hours in what should be an entertaining, if slightly one sided, affair.