Barcelona players produced a solid, all-round display as they edged Elche CF 2-1 at Estadio Martínez Valero on Sunday.

Barcelona extended their winning run to four games in all competitions after securing a 2-1 victory over Elche CF on Sunday. The three points should be invaluable in helping them remain on track for a top-four finish, with the club currently sitting pretty in the third position.

Despite creating a plethora of goalscoring opportunities, it was not the most clinical performance from Xavi Hernandez’s men. Playing away from home, the Blaugrana dominated the first half, keeping possession and making life difficult for the opposition with their forays into the final third.

However, an unfortunate moment saw Elche take the lead against the run of play, with Fidel scoring late in the first half. Elche’s lead going into half-time was a massive boost for the hosts, giving them the luxury to just sit back and soak in the pressure from the Barcelona attack.

Despite conceding an equaliser in the 60th minute, the Elche defence did admirably well to keep the scores level. But the Catalans were handed a lifeline in the 82nd minute when Antonio Barragan conceded a handball inside the box, leading to a penalty.

The referee initially dismissed the calls for a spot-kick, but after a lengthy VAR check, he awarded the penalty to Barcelona, with Memphis Depay making no mistake in netting a late winner. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Barcelona players in their narrow win over Elche this weekend.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10

Marc-Andre ter Stegen made an extraordinary save in the second half to deny Pere Milla. It would easily go down as one of the saves of the season and the highlight of his performance against Elche. Other than that, the Barcelona goalkeeper’s questionable positioning remains an issue as he easily conceded a late first-half goal.

Dani Alves: 7.5/10

Dani Alves was a key asset in Barcelona’s build-up play. His quality in possession opened up multiple frontiers for his side in both midfield and attack. However, his lack of pace was exploited well by Johan Mojica and Fidel, as they made multiple runs in behind the backline.

Ronald Araujo: 7/10

Ronald Araujo had a fairly decent game at the heart of the four-man backline. His physical and aerial prowess was a major obstacle for Elche to score from set-pieces while making life difficult for Lucas Boye.

Gerard Pique: 8/10

While Araujo took care of the aerial and physical challenges, it was Gerard Pique who provided the much-needed quality in possession. Especially during the first half, the defender opened up the Elche defence twice with his diagonal balls. At the same time, the veteran was quite competent in his duels, thus establishing himself as a rock at the back for Barcelona.

Jordi Alba: 8/10

Jordi Alba started the game rather slowly but ended up as one of the most influential players on the pitch. His marauding runs from the flanks made life difficult for the Elche defence. He was even close to scoring on numerous occasions and remained a constant threat to the opposition. The experienced full-back also deserves credit for his defensive work, making him one of the best performers on the pitch.

Pedri: 7/10

Pedri’s attempted clearance led the ball straight to Fidel, which was quite an unfortunate moment for the young midfielder. However, he made amends with yet another graceful effort in the middle of the park. His passing was exquisite, as ever, with the youngster expertly exploiting the space behind the backline with his chipped balls over the top.

Sergio Busquets: 8/10

Sergio Busquets looked calm and steady in the holding midfield role, which was vital in helping Barcelona dominate the proceedings. Perhaps more importantly, the veteran midfielder used his vision to craft up a few opportunities for his side and was always a reliable outlet in possession.

Frenkie de Jong: 6/10

Frenkie de Jong should have scored from an excellent first-half opportunity. He may even have scored a double, but the Dutchman could not beat Edgar Badia in the Elche goal. He needs to be more clinical in the coming games if he is to remain a guaranteed starter under Xavi Hernandez.

Ousmane Dembele: 7.5/10

Ousmane Dembele was a constant threat out wide due to his mazy runs and explosive speed that kept the opposition on their toes. He probed the Elche defence quite well and had a key role in play in creating multiple goalscoring opportunities. Xavi’s decision to use him as an attacking asset during the second half of the campaign is already paying dividends, it seems.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 7/10

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a slightly underwhelming performance, given his lofty standards. The Gabonese international found himself in a scoring situation in the first half, but his attempt was blocked by an Elche defender. He was defended quite well by the opposition, prompting Xavi to sub him off during the final phase of play.

Gavi: 5/10

Gavi was one of the few Barcelona players who struggled to impress on the afternoon. He was not involved in the game enough to cause any problems for the opposition and was subbed off at half-time.

SUBSTITUTES

Ferran Torres: 7/10

Ferran Torres came on for Gavi at half-time and changed the complexion of the game with his ability to probe the opposition and get into good scoring positions. However, despite scoring the equaliser, the former Manchester City starlet must improve significantly with his finishing as he squandered at least three scoring chances.

Nicolas Gonzalez: 6/10

Nico was brought in midway through the second half to add more freshness in the middle of the park. The youngster did not have much of an impact on the proceedings.

Memphis Depay: 7/10

Memphis Depay was a threat for the Elche defence after replacing Aubameyang at the 75th-minute mark. The Dutchman tried to make things happen and eventually forced Barragan into a handball inside the penalty area. He looked quite confident while taking the penalty as well, helping his team seal all three points.

Adama Traore: 6.5/10

Adama Traore was another lively figure after coming on during the final phase of the proceedings. His sheer strength and speed made him an asset out wide.

Sergino Dest: N/A

A late replacement for Alves. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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