Barcelona 3-2 Elche: Player ratings as Blaugrana return to winning ways

Barcelona earned their first victory of December with a 3-2 win over Elche on Saturday evening that a defensive blackout in the second half made far more difficult than it need have been.

Ferran Jutgla broke the deadlock on his first start at Camp Nou, beating two white shirts to head in Ousmane Dembele’s 16th-minute corner with Barcelona’s first shot of the game.


Gavi doubled the lead with a stunning individual goal three minutes later. Starting his run with an electric Cruyff-turn away from Omar Mascarell on halfway, the 17-year-old shimmied Enzo Roco to his knees, scurrying into the penalty box where he clinically concluded the move with his first ever La Liga goal.

Dominating possession and territory, Barcelona limited Elche to one shot in the first half, though the visitors caused more problems for the hosts’ exposed backline than that figure suggests.

The likes of Frenkie de Jong and Gavi had chances to extend Barcelona’s lead as Xavi Hernandez’s side strolled through the quarter-hour either side of the interval with a growing swagger that outweighed their two-goal lead.

Elche highlighted the fragility of this lead with a pair of goals separated by a matter of seconds shortly after the hour mark. With Jordi Alba caught comedically out of position, the visitors swung the ball from across the pitch into the space Barcelona’s left back vacated as substitute Tete Morente fired in Elche’s first goal against the Catalans since 1978.

Morente turned provider in the 63rd minute, picking out Pere Milla lurking in a shocking glut of space on the opposite side of Barcelona’s scrambled backline.

However, the attacking threat Barcelona’s chiefly youthful contingent posed throughout the contest scarcely dwindled. 19-year-old Nico Gonzalez compensated for the defensive woes Xavi has inherited, thumping in the winning goal in the 85th minute after some typically intricate combination play from Dembele and that man – or rather, boy – Gavi again.

Clement Lenglet

Clement Lenglet returned against Elche in a much-changed backline / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 6/10 – Left helpless when faced with the scarce shots Elche steered on target.

Ronald Araujo (RB) – 3/10 – Tucking infield to form a back-three when Barcelona have possession, the natural central defender was often drawn further away from the flank when Elche attacked, leaving plenty of work for Dembele to do off the ball.

Eric Garcia (CB) – 4/10 – Unconvincing as ever off the ball, but repeatedly and bizarrely played passes to teammates that were marked.

Clement Lenglet (CB) – 3/10 – Invariably the weakest link in a side littered with defensive issues, Lenglet seems to constantly lurch between lapses in concentration.

Jordi Alba (LB) – 4/10 – Floating into unfamiliar central positions, Alba played some incisive passes from that half-space but was glaringly exposed at the other end.

Gavi (CM) – 8/10 – A bubbling ball of energy scooting all over the turf, Barcelona’s ebullient teenager was as enthusiastic and influential off the ball as he was on it.

Sergio Busquets (CM) – 7/10 – Orchestrating play behind the whirling carousel of Blaugrana shirts looking for a pass from the Barcelona wingers shackled to the flanks.

Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 6/10 – Repeatedly urged to break forward, De Jong peppered with contest with some lovely touches rather than dictating the game.

Ferran Jutgla

Ferran Jutgla celebrates his first competitive goal for Barcelona / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Ousmane Dembele (RW) – 7/10 – Tasked with more defensive duties than he’s normally accustomed to, Barcelona’s jet-heeled wide-man produced a raft of chances for his teammates but awkwardly struggled to limit those of the opposition.

Ferran Jutgla (ST) – 7/10 – Linking well with midfield, particularly Gavi, Jutgla took a goal on his full competitive debut superbly but will be ruing the chance to a bag a brace from close range.

Ez Abde (LW) – 7/10 – Up against the team from his hometown, Abde caused an unending raft of headaches for Helibelton Palacios but too often had his promising build up play wasted.

Nico Gonzalez

Nico saved the day / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Nico Gonzalez (CM) – 8/10 – Had a shot cleared off the line before providing the impact his arrival had intended.

Riqui Puig (CM) – 6/10

Alex Balde (LB) – N/A

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Author: XenBet