Elche 0-4 Barcelona: Player ratings as Blaugrana cruise to routine win
By Tom Gott
Barcelona continued their push towards the La Liga title with a comfortable 4-0 victory over the division's bottom side Elche on Saturday.
It wasn't a particularly inspiring performance from Xavi's side but the gulf in quality between the two sides ensured it never needed to be, with Robert Lewandowski scoring twice and both Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres getting in on the action in the second half.
Elche made a bright start but soon reverted to type, backtracking and sitting deep in an attempt to frustrate Barcelona - doing so fairly successfully for the first 19 minutes before Lewandowski opened the scoring.
Ronald Araujo knocked a free-kick back across the box and Lewandowski did well to shuffle the ball out of his feet and arrow a strike into the corner of the goal.
Elche responded well and actually enjoyed some nice spells of possession, although the next real chance fell to Lewandowski once again as the Pole leapt highest to meet a cross inside the six-yard box, but he got his jump all wrong and somehow sent the ball over the bar.
Jules Kounde then saw an effort blocked on the line by Omar Mascarell as Barcelona ended what was a bit of an ugly first half on top.
Elche had an excellent chance to snatch an equaliser early in the second half when Jose Angel Carmona went bursting through one-on-one, but before he could get his shot away, the full-back's hamstring gave up on him and sent him crashing to the ground.
Moments later, Fati thundered home a second, driving from deep and sending a low effort across goal and into the bottom corner.
Lewandowski added the third 65 minutes in, picking up the ball after Gavi had stolen possession and drilling home to remove any doubt about the result.
With the floodgates now fully open, Torres soon added a fourth, cutting inside from the right wing and bending the ball beyond Badia.
As had been the case all game, Elche refused to lie down and they did manage plenty of half-chances, but they simply did not have the quality needed to break Barcelona down in the end.
Elche player ratings (5-4-1)
GK: Edgar Badia (4); RB: Helibelton Palacios (4); CB: Pedro Bigas (5); CB: Omar Mascarell (6); LB: Carlos Clerc (5); RM: Tete Morente (5); CM: Jose Angel Carmona (5); CM: Gerard Gumbau (6); LM: Lautaro Blanco (5); AM: Fidel Chaves (5); ST: Pere Milla (5).
Substitutes: Raul Guti (6), Nicolas Fernandez (6), Josan (5), Ezequiel Ponce (5).
Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 6/10 - Busier than he'll have expected to be and had to ride his luck at times.
RB: Jules Kounde - 7/10 - Played more like a winger but should have done better when in front of goal.
CB: Ronald Araujo - 7/10 - A classy knockdown for Lewandowski's opener.
CB: Marcos Alonso - 7/10 - Defensively solid and always willing to get involved in attack where possible.
LB: Jordi Alba - 7/10 - Looked fresh as he tried to get involved as much as possible.
DM: Eric Garcia - 6/10 - A solid showing in midfield. Not tested much defensively but kept things ticking over with some nice passing.
CM: Sergi Roberto - 6/10 - Unspectacular but effective. Advanced possession well but struggled to break down Elche's defence.
CM: Gavi - 8/10 - Electric. Looked back at home in midfield as he charged around to get involved in almost everything positive for Barcelona.
RW: Ferran Torres - 6/10 - A quiet showing aside from his well-taken goal.
ST: Robert Lewandowski - 8/10 - Took his goals very well and could have easily had more.
LW: Ansu Fati - 6/10 - Not a particularly impressive performance but can't fault the end product.
Franck Kessie (68' for Gavi) - 6/10 - Kept things ticking over.
Pablo Torre (77' for Araujo) - 6/10 - Brought good energy in limited minutes.
Aleix Garrido (83' for Fati) - N/A
Xavi - 6/10 - Barcelona weren't particularly impressive but didn't need to be. Xavi set his side up and then waited for their superiority to bring results, and that's what happened.