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Lewandowski 19', 65',Ansu Fati 55',Ferrán Torres 69'

Elche vs Barcelona summary: Lewandowski double, score, goals, highlights | LaLiga 2022-23

Robert Lewandowski scores twice as LaLiga leaders Barcelona down bottom club Elche to go 15 points clear of Real Madrid.

Elche 0-4 Barcelona: as it happened

Full-time: Elche 0-4 Barcelona

At half-time, it didn’t look as if it would end with a four-goal victory for Barcelona.

Xavi’s men found it hard to play through the lines in the first 15 minutes, often opting to play balls over the top, which forced Elche into a series of last-gasp interceptions. Barça did start to find some more space in central areas in the minutes before they took the lead, although they hit the front with their first real opportunity, Lewandowski’s miscue nestling into the far corner of the net after Araújo had headed Alba’s free-kick across goal.

After a bit of a wobble, Elche then came back into the game and had a number of chances to get the ball into the Barcelona box from dead-ball situations but poor delivery stopped them from creating any opportunities. And Barcelona stepped things back up again in the minutes before the break, with Lewandowski and Koundé passing up clear chances to double their lead before the break.  

Fati’s fine solo goal 11 minutes into the second half proved crucial as Elche were then forced to play more offensively in an attempt to find a way back into the game. Attacking changes disrupted their defensive structure, though, and carelessness in possession allowed Barça to win back possession in dangerous areas and exploit spaces that the hosts had left. Lewandowski capitalised on an Elche mistake to make the game completely safe before Torres curled in a fine fourth soon after.

Another comfortable victory for Xavi’s side, who continue their habit of swatting away weaker opponents without truly dazzling.

15 points clear. Mind the gap.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández: "Today worked out perfectly"

Last word of the night goes to Xavi, who spoke to Spanish broadcaster Movistar after the match.

General thoughts on the game

"It was a good game for us, from start to finish. I'm happy with the team in general. It's very pleasing when players who don't feature too much get to play and it goes well. We're 15 points ahead and that's very important. We are a team and I am happy for everyone in the group."

Eric García’s performance as a holding midfielder

"Honestly, the idea of playing Eric as a holding midfielder came from Jordi Cruyff. He told me that he saw potential for him to play in the middle of the field. We've been trying him there for a couple of months now. The other day he played there against the reserve team in a friendly, and I liked it. And I think he could become a great holding midfielder."

Ansu Fati's need for a goal

"Goals always give forwards confidence. Today it worked out perfectly because all three of them scored. Ansu was exhausted at the end. Apart from the goal, he worked hard for the team. That's what's pleased me. The people who needed to score goals have done it, and I’m really happy about that."

Aleix Garrido's debut

"He is a typically Barça player. Technically, he is very gifted. It's still early, but he is a player that I like. He has is capable of making the right decision and playing the right pass in the final third."

Xavi "better" than Pep

An interesting stat here from Spanish statistician Mister Chip. 

Xavi has won 40 of his first 53 league games in charge of Barcelona, which isn't bad going, is it?

That's one more than Pep Guardiola but one fewer than Luis Enrique.

Reaction from Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández coming up

Xavi will be a happy man tonight, with his team's performance but especially the result. Reaction from the Barça boss is on its way (you'll find it across AS USA as well as in here).

Barcelona's attention turns to Real Madrid

The league looks to be pretty much wrapped up for Barcelona, which means they can now turn their attentions to the Copa del Rey. On Thursday, they will take on Real Madrid in the semi-final second leg.

Xavi's men lead 1-0 from the first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and with confidence sky high, they will expect to make it through to the final.

Elche 14 (FOURTEEN) points from safety

Let's be frank. There's no hope of Elche saying up, is there? The will surely avoid finishing the season with the worst-ever points tally (if that's any consolation). Sporting Gijón ended the 1997-98 season with 13 points, Elche's current total. 

Another point will do, lads. 


Barcelona 15 (FIFTEEN) points clear

Barça could end up with a total of 104 points this season. Obviously, they'd have to win all of their remaining games. The current record is 100, set by Real Madrid in 2011-12 and equalled by the Catalans the following season. 


Robert 'Pichichi' Lewandowski

17 LaLiga goals for the Pole. four ahead of...Getafe's Enes Ünal.

Almost a consolation for Elche! Barcelona leave themselves short at the back and Josan finds himself clean through on goal, only to be denied by a smart stop down low from ter Stegen.

Palacios did look as if he'd downed tools there as he bizarrely gives up on Josan's pass into the penalty box before his teammate had ever played it.

Three minutes of added time.

Barcelona taking the sting out of the game, although Elche, to their credit, haven't downed tools. The new manager effect.
Aleix Garrido, leading the next generation at Barcelona

In case you don't know much about - or have never heard of - Barcelona's latest appearance-maker Aleix Garrido, here's what he's all about. It turns out that he's pretty highly thought of at Camp Nou.

A flurry of attacking from Elche! Josan clips a cross into the box and Fidel floats a header goalwards. It hangs in the air for an eternity and comes back off the bar! Guti then has a couple of efforts in quick succession, the last of which goes a yard or so wide.

A Barcelona debut for young Aleix Garrido. Ansu Fati goes off.

What a (comical) goal that would have been. Lewandowski chases a long ball over the top, with Bigas on a collision course with his goalkeeper Badía. The Pole budges the defender anyway and the two do indeed bump into each other, but the referee spots the push and prevents the striker from tapping into an empty net.

Elche have suddenly woken up! Nico cross again, the ball is cleared as far as Clerc, whose left-footed strike from distances whistles a yard or two wide.

That's Elche best effort of the game. Nico overhits a cross from the left and it ends up with fellow sub Josan, who cuts in on his left foot and curls a lovely effort just wide of the post.

Young midfielder Pablo Torre is on for Barça, Araújo goes off. The reshuffle sees Sergi Roberto move to right-back and Koundé into the middle.

Lewandowski almost in for a fifth as Elche again give the ball away under no pressure. Fati plays him through but the pass is too heavy. Oh, and it was called offside anyway.

Ponce replaces Milla for the hosts.

It's really not Gumbau's day. I've lost count of how many free-kicks and corners he's put into the Barcelona box but I can tell you that he's found a teammate with exactly zero of them. Maybe time to give someone else a go.

Araújo gets a pretty harsh yellow as Fidel goes down clutching his face, claiming he'd been elbowed. That was more a tickle.

Gumbau whips in a corner for Elche and it's a familiar story - cleared by a Barcelona head (sometimes foot).

The substitutions have really disrupted what Elche were doing defensively.


Elche have fallen to pieces! A wonderful finish from Torres, who had pulled off his marker on the right, drifted back inside and found the bottom corner!

Clásico hero Kessié replaces Gavi, who doesn't seem to be particularly popular in Elche...

Barcelona on course for another comfortable win!


What an introduction for Nico Fernández...he immediately gives the ball away to Gavi, who spokes it through to Lewandowski, who finishes low past Badía!

Laturo and Morente off, Nico Fernández and Josanon for the hosts.

Really unlucky there for Torres, who makes a clever run through the middle and looks set to get on the end of Lewandowski's through-ball, only for the ball for clip his heel before it would've run through to him.

Close to a third for Barcelona! Alba picks the ball up just outside the box and blasts one goalwards. It flies narrowly over.

A decent break down the right from the hosts through Palacios, who cross is cleared by the perfectly-placed Araújo.

The inevitable yellow card for Gavi, who leads with his elbow as he challenges Gumbau for a high ball.

Difficult to see a way back for the hosts now...


We've see next to nothing of Ansu Fati but that was top class!

Lewandowski, from inside his own half, plays the ball inside to the attacker, who runs and runs and runs before shooting low past Badia from the edge of the box!

On reflection, poor defending from the hosts, who didn't put in a challenge. Great finish though.

And with that, Carmona is forced off. Raul Guti on in his place.

Unlucky Elche!

So, so unlucky for Elche! Barcelona are pushing forward but the hosts hit them with a devastating counter. Fidel's wonderful pass looks to have set Carmona through on goal but he is forced to pull up just as he's breaking into the box. Hamstring's gone.

A Barcelona free-kick ends up with Alonso picking the ball up inside the area and his low shot from a tight angle is blocked by Badía with his feet!

That was a big chance for a second and Lewandowski wasted it! Elche make a mess of playing out from the back and gift possession to the striker, who makes his way into the box but takes too long to decide what to do and a combination of Bigas and Mascarell crowd him out.

Finally some proper work for ter Stegen to do! Gumbau fires one in from distance...but the referee had already stopped play for a foul on Sergi Roberto.

I've just been singing Araújo's praises and he's now added another string to his bow, flicking the ball over the head of an onrushing opponent and taking the ball down calm as you like. Zidane or Messi would've been proud of that one. The highlight of the second half so far.

Second half underway!

Barcelona get us going for the second half!

Barcelona on course for a 15-point lead over Real Madrid

You might want to print this out and frame it, Barça fans. 

Elche supporters, don't worry, I won't post the bottom of the table...


Ronald Araújo has been an imperious performer for Barcelona this season. Normally at centre-back, against Real Madrid's Vinícius Júnior at right-back and even, sometimes, in attack. An assist for the Uruguayan, who is always a threat in the opposition box.

A relatively even first

Or at least more so than we anticipated...

Lots of Barcelona possession but Elche have had their moments, even if things haven't quite clicked in the final third for them. 

Yellow cards
red cards
fouls won
fouls committed
Contested balls where possession is lost
Ball recoveries

Half-time: Elche 0-1 Barcelona

Lewandowski's goal gives Barça the half-time lead!

As I mentioned a little earlier, it’s a first half that sums up Barcelona’s season quite well. They’ve done enough to get ahead and kept their opponents at bay fairly comfortably but they’ve not exactly played them off the park or created chance after chance.

Xavi’s men found it hard to play through the lines in the first 15 minutes, often opting to play balls over the top, which forced Elche into a series of last-gasp interceptions. Barça did start to find some more space in central areas in the minutes before they took the lead, although they hit the front with their first real opportunity, Lewandowski’s miscue nestling into the far corner of the net after Araújo had headed Alba’s free-kick across goal.

It initially looked as if Barça might immediately add to their lead, with the home defence working overtime to keep the back door locked. Elche then came back into the game and had a number of chances to get the ball into the Barcelona box from dead-ball situations but their delivery has been poor on the whole and Marc-Andre ter Stegen has had next to nothing to do.

And Barcelona stepped things back up again in the minutes before the break, with Lewandowski somehow heading/shouldering over from three yards out before Koundé’s low shot was cleared off the line. A second goal would surely have killed the game off.

Koundé the line!

That looked to be a certain second...again! Gavi jinks into the box on the left and pulls the ball back for Koundé, whose shot is going in but is blocked once more by Mascarell!

How did Lewandowski miss?

How has Robert Lewandowski missed that?! Torres swings in a perfect cross from the right and the Pole looks perfectly placed to head in from just a few years out, only to get his angles all wrong and nudge the ball over the bar off his shoulder.

I had a (very minor) dig at Gavi a moment or two ago but he's just played a lovely backheel pass to Alba, whose cross is cleared at the near post.

Of course, as soon as I say that, Barcelona almost have a clear sight of goal. Mascarell does superbly well to get a foot in to take the ball away from Lewandowski, who was ready to pounce inside the box.

Elche have come back into this in the last few minutes. After the goal, it looked as if Barça might grab a quick second but that feeling has gone for now.

Gavi hasn't got involved in any nonsense so far but maybe he's just been warming up..

He leads with a shoulder as he leans into Palacios on on the touchline, leaving the home fans not best pleased.

The corner is cleared once again but Elche work the wall back out to Fidel, whose cross into the box is easily claimed by ter Stegen.

Another free-kick for Elche inside the Barça half. They've had plenty of them so far. A better delivery from Gumbau this time forces Alonso to head behind for another corner.

ter Stegen fists the corner away, which is the most work he's had to do all game.

Some fine wing play from Morente wins a corner for the hosts!

Another free-kick for Elche in a decent position, another waste as Gumbau overhits it. They need to make more of those opportunities.

16 league goals for Lewandowski

Lewandowski is LaLiga's top scorer with 16 goals, which doesn't actually feel like that many give how many he scored at the start of the season.

Almost a chance for a second for Lewandowski! García sprays a lovely ball out to Alba on the left, the full-back's cross is aimed at the Pole, who is denied by a last-ditch block.

Very typical of Barcelona's season so far. Doing enough to be ahead without blowing you - or the opposition - away.

Mascarell involved at the other end to thwart Gavi's forward run. That would've been very promising for Barça if the midfielder had managed to get away down the right there.

The simple answer is 'no'. They try one off the training ground, but Mascarell is offside.

A chance for Elche to get the ball into the box from a free-kick. Can they respond immediately?

Barcelona going 15 points clear...


One chance, one goal for Lewandowski!

Alba sends a free-kick to the back post, Araújo heads it across goal and Lewandowski scuffs it into the corner!

Barça are cranking up the pressure a little and for the first time manage to find some space between the lines. Fati is playing close to Lewandowski and the two link-up and almost manage to set the Pole through on goal, but he is eventually crowded out.

Gavi is next to try a run from deep to get onto García's pass into the box. But Clerc does enough to put the midfielder off and Badía collects easily.

A dangerous cross into the box from the right from Torres has Lewandowski licking his lips. Badía does well to get a fist to it first and the Barça striker is penalised for barging into the Elche goalkeeper.

And another CRUCIAL intervention from Bigas as Fati finds space in the Elche box and it about to pull the trigger, only for the defender to stick out a telescopic leg to pick his pocket.

Balls in behind the Elche defence are Barcelona favoured form of attack at the moment. Araújo almost manages to set Lewandowki away but Bigas comes across well to clear.

Seconds later, the Pole is in the wars again, as Carmona steps on his heel (seemingly accidentally). He's limping a bit here...

We've not seen much from Lewandowski so far, but he's just taken a boot up the backside from Bigas inside his own half.

Elche's defence and midfield are playing very close together, making it hard for Barça to play in between them. They almost find a solution though as Ansu runs in behind, but the ball from Araújo is too long and carries through to Badía.

A silky bit of footwork from Sergi Roberto in midfield, which I can't remember having seen from him before, if I'm honest. It comes to nothing but it looked great.

A first sustained spell of possession for Barça. We might see quite a lot of this.

Danger for the hosts as Alba breaks away down the left and threatens to set up Fati, whose shot is well blocked. An, offside was given anyway...

I gave it the big build it with an ellipsis and everything, only for Torres to stick the ball straight out for a goal kick. Bravo.

A chance for Barcelona to get the ball into the Elche box for the first time, Torres to take the free-kick...

First chance for Elche!

Two corners come into the box in quick succession, both are cleared. The ball then comes back in from the left and onto the head of Bigas, who can't quite get a clean connection and ter Stegen claims it.

A promising start for Elche! Fidel runs about 60 yards (I lost count) unchallenged, plays the ball across the face of the penalty box to Morente, whose shot is deflected over.

Underway in Elche!

Elche get the ball rolling!

Barcelona team to play Elche

And here's the Barça line-up, with some notable absentees each of a cup game against Real Madrid on Thursday:

ter Stegen; Koundé, Araújo, Alonso, Alba; Roberto, García, Gavi; Torres, Lewandowski, Fati.

Elche team to play Barcelona

Almost time to go! Here's the first Elche line-up picked by new manager Sebastián Beccacace: 

Badia; Palacios, Bigas, Lautaro; Carmona, Mascarell, Gumbau, Clerc; Morente, Milla, Fidel.
Barcelona release Catalan senyera flag fourth kit: meaning, where to buy, price...

This is technically Barcelona's fourth shirt, because three in one season, as we know, are just not enough. Here's Joe with some background on what the Senyera kit actually represents.

Barcelona to wear Senyera kit

Barcelona will not be appearing in their usual garnet - not red, I'm told - and blue shirts tonight, but instead in their Senyera kit. As least they'll be easy to spot...
Could Ansu Fati leave Barcelona? His father wants him to move

A chance for Fati to shine tonight but those close to him think that he would be better served by leaving the club. And, as we all know, when your dad tells you to do something, you should do it.

Ansu Fati starts for Barça!

He's had a really tough time of things through injury but Ansu Fati starts in attack for Barcelona. He's missed only one game due to fitness problems this season but has struggled to back to the kind of form he showed when he first burst onto the scene. He should get a chance or two in Elche...
Barcelona want Gündogan and Martínez: what is their proposed ‘fair play clause’?

Just while we're on the subject of signing players,Barça, as it stands, can't. They're waaaaaay over their salary limit for next season and need to slash their wage bill if they want to register young midfielder Gavi on a first-team contract, never mind bring new players to the club.

But, they seemingly have a plan for that too: the so-called 'fair play clause'.
Barcelona “to make mass layoffs” in addition to extending credit facilities

And they completed a not-so-impressive hat-trick on Friday when it was revealed that the club were set to lay off a huge number of employees because of their money problems. 

They still want to sign Lionel Messi for next season though...
Barcelona extend credit facilities for ‘ordinary operating activities’

Barcelona are in dire financial straits too and on Thursday announced that they had extended credit facilities (i.e. borrowed more money) with two banks to help with the day-to-day running of the club (paying water bills etc). 

Here are the details.
What is ‘Barçagate’, the scandal around Barcelona? The controversy explained

If things couldn't be going much better for Barcelona on the pitch, then they couldn't be going much worse off it. I've lined up a few articles which you can have a read of while we're waiting for kick off in Elche. 

First up, obviously, is the Negreira/Barçagate scandal. If you're reading this, the chances are you'll have been following the story. But here's a little recap of why Barcelona are being investigated for making payments to the former vice president of the Spanish referees committee over 17 years (in case these words in that order in this sentence isn't enough).

Barcelona: 2022-23 season so far

In stark contrast to Elche, Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández probably couldn't have envisaged this season going any better than it has. Domestically in any case, as Europe has been a disaster (out of the Champions League at the group stage and eliminated in the Europa League playoff round). 

Barça have dropped only 10 points all season, have conceded just twice at Camp Nou and only nine goals in 26 games overall. 

Which feels kind of weird. Have they actually been that dominant? It doesn't feel like it, but the league table doesn't lie after so many matches. They're 12 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid with 12 matches left to play and surely nobody will be betting on anything other than an away win in this one?


Barcelona team to play Elche

And while we're at it, how about some Barça team news?

ter Stegen; Koundé, Araújo, Alonso, Alba; Roberto, García, Gavi; Torres, Lewandowski, Fati. 

Ronala Araújo is fit to play, Frenkie de Jong isn't. Is that Eric García in midfield? Seems so...

Elche team to face Barcelona

My Barcelona season review was going to be next but my plans have been interrupted by official Elche team news!

Badia; Palacios, Bigas, Lautaro; Carmona, Mascarell, Gumbau, Clerc; Morente, Milla, Fidel. 

3-4-3 by the looks of things for Beccacece in his first match in charge.

Elche: 2022-23 season so far

Let's not beat around the bush here. It's been a total disaster of a season for Elche so far (just in case four managers didn't already tell you that) and they have been absolutely hopeless (as I said, not beating around the bush). 

Two wins in 26 league matches, one and home and one away. Both of those have come in the last seven games, which is by far and away their best run of the season. They took only six points from their first 19 LaLiga games, which included a 3-0 loss at Camp Nou

Still, they are the strongest team in the league, holding everybody else up.

What do you mean you've heard that one before...?


New Elche boss Sebastián Beccacece

He looks like he could be the front man in a Nirvana tribute band but this is in fact new Elche boss Sebastián Beccacace. The Argentinian was appointed on 21 March following the departure of Pablo Machín and this is his first game in charge. Timing could've been better...

Beccacace has managed Defensa y Justifica, Racing Club and Independiente in his homeland and was an assistant coach with Argentina in 2017 and 2018. He's Elche's fourth (yes, fourth) manager this season after Machín, Jorge Almirón and Francisco.

Barcelona are coming!

I misread this tweet at first glance and thought it said just "on our way to Elche", which had me worried that I had my days mixed up as it's more than a 5-hour drive from Barcelona. 

Anyway, I've given my screen a good clean and it turns out that Barça are already in town (as if those palm trees didn't already give it away). There are apparently more than 45,000 palm trees in Elche, did you know? I'm sure you did...

Elche's Estadio Martínez Velero ready for Barça

Estadio Martínez Velero is the setting for Saturday's LaLiga clash and here's the pitch-side view courtesy of the Barcelona social media team. Thanks for that one, guys.

The ground holds almost 34,000 fans and hosted three matches at the 1982 World Cup, including an incredible 10-1 win for Hungary against El Salvador, which is a joint-World Cup record (nine-goal winning margin).

Barcelona early team news

On the Barcelona side, Pedri and Ousmane Dembélé have been absent for several weeks and remain that way. They are joined on the treatment table for this clash by defender Andreas Christensen. 

There are also question marks over the fitness of centre-back Ronald Araújo and midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who missed national team games during the break. 

Raphinha is suspended after picking up too many yellow cards. Naughty boy.

Elche early team news

No news on line-ups just yet but we already know a few players who won't be involved. For the hosts, attacker Randy Nteka and defender Enzo Roco are injured, while forward Lucas Boyé and midfield man Pape Cheikh miss out through suspesion.
Elche vs Barcelona: Times, how to watch on TV, stream online | LaLiga

Of course, you may be looking for a way to watch the game, in which case, you are bang in luck. If you’re watching from the United States, there is a way and this is it!

You can watch Elche vs Barcelona live stream on ESPN+

What time does Elche vs Barcelona kick off?

Saturday’s clash at Estadio Martínez Valero in Elche gets underway at 9pm local time in Spain, that’s 3pm ET and 12pm PT.

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, I’ll be bringing you build-up, team news and plenty, plenty more. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Hello and welcome to Elche vs Barcelona!

Hello and welcome to Elche vs Barcelona!

It’s been four long years, but Barcelona look as if they’re finally about to get their hands back on the LaLiga trophy. A last-gasp win over Real Madrid before the international break means they have one hand on the title but there’s no chance they’ll be taking their foot off the pedal until the job is complete.

Here they take on an Elche side desperate for points in a seemingly hopeless battle to avoid the drop. This should be an away win but this is soccer…anything can happen.

I’m Roddy and thanks for joining me for Elche vs Barcelona!

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