As Elche travelled to the Catalan capital, Barça were under pressure to grab three points from their encounter in the hope of keeping some fire alive this season. The draw against Cadiz on the weekend was disheartening and was visible in the first half of the Elche game. However, Lionel Messi took matters into his own hands in the second half, scoring a brace and helping Barcelona register a 2-0 win.
There were plenty of numbers that dictated Barcelona’s outing, and Barça Universal takes a look at them today.
Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti started their first game together this season, and were able to keep a clean sheet against the Valencian outfit. However, there was very little the backline had to do, with Frenkie De Jong running the show ahead of them from the centre of the park.
Frenkie De Jong vs Elche:— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 24, 2021
– Most touches (113)
– Most passes (103)
– 100% take-ons completed
– 91% pass accuracy
– 6 ball recoveries
– 4/5 duels won
– 3 chances created
– 3 take-ons
– 1 assist
— Squawka pic.twitter.com/tuFxUbiOBp
Another player who deserves huge plaudits is Pedri. At the age of 18, he is holding his own in the Barcelona team, performing at levels way beyond his age game after game. The teenager was one of the best players on the night, again, doing bits in both attack and defence, while playing three different positions across 90 minutes.
Pedri made more tackles (4) and more ball recoveries (11) than any other player on the pitch during against Elche.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 24, 2021
— Squawka pic.twitter.com/tilgTYEC55
The star of the show, yet again, was Leo Messi. Three minutes into the second half, the Argentine went on a one-man parade, skipping past the defence before playing a pass into Martin Braithwaite. The Dane made no mistake in playing it back to Messi with a sublime no-look back heel, and before you knew it, the scoreboard read 1-0. He added another one past Edgar Badia, moving two clear off Luis Suarez in the race for the Pichichi.
Lionel Messi is now leading the La Liga Pichichi race (18 goals) with 2 goals ahead of Luis Suarez. pic.twitter.com/cmamsjecMo— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 24, 2021
The second from the GOAT also helped him skip past Robert Lewandowski as the leading goalscorer in the calendar year 2021. Truly incomparable.
Lionel Messi has scored the most goals in 2021 in Europe's top 5 leagues:— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 24, 2021
Haaland 10 pic.twitter.com/WCxyb7aWb4
Speaking of GOATs, Martin Braithwaite also turned up for the Garnet and Blue in the second half, taking up lethal positions in the box to hurt Elche. His pass to Lionel Messi for the opener was absolutely brilliant, and he followed it up with a header lay-off for Jordi Alba to tuck in 3 yards off goal.