FC Barcelona – RCD Espanyol: Espanyol Pose Interesting Questions But Barcelona Have Messi (2-0)
Espanyol genuinely made life hard for Barcelona at Camp Nou by playing in a very compact and well-functioning 5-3-1-1 formation. Only past the midway point of the second half did the home side find a way to score and this essentially ended the game, after what had been a very interesting, yet one-sided seventy minutes of play.
Tactical analysis and match report by Erik Elias.
If the traffic does not get in your way, you can drive from Camp Nou to Espanyol’s home stadium Estadi Cornellà-El Prat in fifteen minutes or less. As was questioned earlier in our Weekend Preview, it is hard to imagine the players getting truly worked up about the fact this is a derby, and they can beat a city rival. And maybe that is even unfair to ask of them, since in the modern era of club football, players hardly even have the time to become attached to their club or supporters, because the next club is already knocking on their door. For fans it is a totally different story of course.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde played in what can be considered his strongest starting eleven. Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, aided by fullbacks Jordi Alba and Nélson Semedo, while Gerard Piqué is partnered by Clément Lenglet in central defense, leaving a fit Samuel Umtiti on the bench. Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić and Arthur make up the midfield. As left ‘winger’, Coutinho gets the nod since Ousmane Dembélé is injured. Luis Su . . .