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.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas talks summer transfers and fan return to stadiums
In a conference held by ADEA Forum (Association of managers and executives of Aragon) in Zaragoza, Javier Tebas spoke on a wide range of topics surrounding La Liga.
Mostly, the La Liga president spoke regarding the league’s bounce back from the pandemic and some potential plans for the league to restore public crowds. He also discussed the losses incurred, the summer transfers, among other things.
The Condition of La Liga
Tebas started the conference by claiming that the situation for the Spanish league is comparatively better than other leagues.
Speaking on this, he said, “The situation is worrying, but not so much. I think that of this pandemic the Spanish League is the one that is going to turn out less badly compared to the others.”
He then spoke about the losses incurred in Spanish football, with the net loss amounting to €1 billion by the 30th of September.
On the losses, Tebas said, “Of this billion, 750 have been financed by banks or investment funds, the latter the majority based in London, and the rest have been done by the clubs pulling their cash.”
Additionally, he mentioned that it was big clubs that were affected stronger than the smaller clubs, due to the huge loss of income from the lack of crowds, among other profitable economic activities that clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy above others.
A return for crowds to stadiums
When speaking on a return of crowds to stadiums, the La Liga chief seemed tremendously confident in their ability to host crowds as early as tomorrow. He claimed that they would have to run at between 20% to 30% capacity; nonetheless, the Spaniard was confident that teams would be more than capable of hosting crowds very soon.
Speaking on the same, he said, “There is a working group for the return [of fans] to the stadiums. I hope that in the last league games we can see the public in a proportional amount.”
Upcoming transfer window
Speaking on the summer transfer window, the president claimed that there will indeed be a lower amount of transfers as there were in the previous window. Tebas said, “They have already been lower in winter. There may be occasional and exceptional operations, but globally it will decrease. There will be exchanges of players. It’s going to be lower than last year.”
Accordingly, clubs are going to have to dig into their academy reserves more and more as the global and financial situations amend over time.