Barcelona notched another win — and edge closer to the league title — after making short work of Elche in a 4-0 rout.
It took a while for the Catalan side to get going but they managed to do so in the 20th minute. Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring as his peculiar finish with his right foot, which took a slight deflection off his left, evaded the head of the defender and ended up in the back of the net. Ronald Araújo set up the goal as his header placed it on the platter for the striker.
Lewandowski had a chance to score a second midway through the half but his header went over the bar. Jules Koundé had an opportunity in the final minutes only to see his effort cleared by the defender.
One of the storylines heading into the game was how Ansu Fati was going to respond following the comments made by his father over his lack of playing time. Whether or not those comments had any impact is hard to say but he had a disappointing opening 45 minutes.
However, he would redeem himself in the 56th minute as his shot from outside the box put Barcelona up 2-0. Ferrán Torres, in his own half, played the ball to Fati who took on the defender, saw an opening and didn’t hesitate to shoot.
Lewandowski would get his second 10 minutes later as Barcelona were all over Elche. Ferran Torres, who was another player under the microscope, scored the fourth and final goal with a curler from just outside the box.
With Barcelona having the game all but won, Xavi used this as an opportunity to give Pablo Torre some minutes as well as give Aleix Garrido his first team debut.
In the end, it proved to be a rather straightforward win for Barcelona against the last place team in the league. It gave Xavi the option to rotate and try some new things, which he did by playing Eric Garcia as the holding midfielder. Garcia did decent enough though it was only one game and it’s definitely an experiment in its early stages.
Pending the result of Sunday’s game, Barcelona now go 15 points ahead of Real Madrid.
The win served as a confidence boost for players like Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres. As a team, they’ll look to take this confidence forward when they take on the aforementioned Real Madrid in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal at the Camp Nou. The Catalans head into that match with a 1-0 lead.