Evening all and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Barcelona and Leganes
from Camp Nou. Barcelona currently sit top of La Liga on 43 points, two points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid. The Spanish champions have won their last six in the league and will welcome a Leganes side that currently occupies 14th position with a record of five wins, seven draws and seven defeats this term. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute coverage of the action!
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Alena, Arthur, Busquets; Coutinho, Suarez, Dembele
LEGANES (3-4-1-2): Cuellar; Tarin, Omeruo, Siovas; Nyom, Vesga, Recio, Silva; Oscar; Braithwaite, En-Nesyri
The big team news for Barcelona is that Lionel Messi
has been rested from the start, with the Argentine named on the bench. Luis Suarez
returns to join Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho in attack, while Thomas Vermaelen is back from injury and Carles Alena is given a rare start in midfield. No Messi is the obvious headline team news at Camp Nou tonight.
As for Leganes, Martin Braithwaite scored the winner against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie last week and the on-loan Middlesbrough attacker keeps his spot in the XI. Jonathan Silva and Youssef En-Nesyri both came off the bench against Los Blancos, meanwhile, and make the team. It looks to be a 3-4-1-2 formation for Leganes tonight.
KICKOFF: Leganes kick things off at Camp Nou...
KICKOFF: ... far from a full house inside the stadium tonight, but there is a good atmosphere. Those who are not regulars will not be very pleased that a certain Argentine is not in the Barcelona XI though!
Nyom and Silva are fairly advanced in the wing-back areas for Leganes, certainly early on. Whether that stays the case remains to be seen, but the visitors look to be in a shape capable of causing Barcelona problems, with Braithwaite and En-Nesyri being supported from out wide.
Not too much to report in the first six minutes, with both teams guilty of losing the ball in the final third. If anything, Leganes have shaded the early stages of this league contest.
YELLOW CARD! Braithwaite (Leganes) is booked for a high boot on Pique.
Nyom is fortunate to escape a booking for pulling Coutinho to the ground as Barcelona start to dominate the ball. Leganes are starting to come under some intense pressure here.
CHANCE! Super work from Dembele as the Frenchman races into the Leganes box before delivering a low cross - Coutinho eventually makes contact and his effort is deflected over.
YELLOW CARD! Busquets (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on En-Nesyri.
Silva delivers a dangerous cross into the Barcelona box, but Vermaelen does well to make the clearance. Leganes are certainly not afraid to commit numbers forward on the break.
Pass, pass, pass from Barcelona as they move the ball in the final third of the field. Alena dances his way past a couple of challenges into a dangerous area, but Siovas clears.
Pique attempts to release Dembele with a long pass, but Cuellar is out to claim. Dembele has been in brilliant form in recent months and has already shown his quality tonight.
Still goalless with 20 minutes on the clock and not too much is happening at the moment. Barcelona are the team on the front foot, but Leganes continue to defend well at Camp Nou.
Smart work from Dembele down the right releases Coutinho down the left, but Leganes have numbers back and eventually launch a break. En-Nesyri delivers a dangerous cross into the Barcelona box, but there are no takers. Quite an open game of football at the moment.
YELLOW CARD! Tarin (Leganes) is booked for a foul on Coutinho.
SHOT! Luis Suarez misses the crossbar with a strike from outside the box.
Barcelona have a free kick in a decent area as Braithwaite fells Luis Suarez...
SAVE! ... Cuellar is across to keep out Luis Suarez's free kick.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining and we are still goalless. Barcelona are currently on the front foot, but Leganes are showing plenty of attacking intent. Alba has just been quite fortunate to escape a booking for pushing Nyom in the back with a lot of force.
YELLOW CARD! Omeruo (Leganes) is booked for a foul on Luis Suarez.
GOAL! BARCELONA 1-0 LEGANES (DEMBELE)
Barcelona make the breakthrough in the 32nd minute of this match and it is Dembele on the scoresheet once again! Alba finds a low cross into the Frenchman and his effort hits the inside of the post before dropping into the back of the net. Big moment in this match!
Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and Leganes need to be careful that they do not concede a second during a very open period. Barcelona are full of ideas here.
Dembele has lost possession on a number of occasions with some sloppy passing tonight, but the Frenchman has made so much happen in the final third that you just have to accept it.
Little over five minutes of the first period remaining and Barcelona are searching for a second goal before the interval. Not too much from Leganes since the goal here.
PENALTY APPEAL! Luis Suarez goes down inside the box under a challenge from Cuellar, but the referee is not interested. It would have been very, very soft. Right call from the officials.
Dembele delivers a dangerous cross into the Leganes box, but Cuellar collects.
One minute of added time will be played at the end of the first period.
SHOT! Coutinho misses the post with a low strike from a Dembele cross.
HALF TIME: BARCELONA 1-0 LEGANES
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Barcelona leading 1-0 courtesy of a clever finish from Dembele in the 32nd minute of action. Leganes have had some decent moments in the final third of the field, but Barcelona deserve to be ahead here.
STATISTICS! Barcelona dominated the possession in the first half with 70%, while they managed six attempts, two of which were on target. Leganes, meanwhile, only managed one attempt and it did not test Ter Stegen. Four yellows to report, with Busquets in the book for Barcelona and Braithwaite, Tarin and Omeruo all being booked for the travelling team.
BENCH WATCH! Messi, Rakitic and Vidal are on a very strong bench which also includes Malcom, who has been linked with a January move away from Barcelona. As for Leganes, head coach Pellegrino has plenty of options in the shape of El Zhar, Eraso, Gumbau and Juanfran.
KICKOFF: Barcelona resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the play develops here.
Leganes surely need to score the next goal in this match if they are to stand any chance of picking up a positive result. Braithwaite has just broken into a dangerous position for the visitors, but his cross goes behind for a goal kick and Barcelona can now break forward.
SHOT! Coutinho misses the crossbar with a strike from a dangerous area.
It will certainly be interesting to see whether Messi is introduced in the second period. There are some fans here as a one-off that will be desperate to see the Argentine!
YELLOW CARD! Alena (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Nyom.
Leganes also have a lot of attacking talent on their bench tonight and I suspect that Pellegrino will give it 10 minutes or so before looking to make a substitute in this match.
GOAL! BARCELONA 1-1 LEGANES (BRAITHWAITE)
Oh my word! All square! Leganes level the scores in the 57th minute as Braithwaite converts a low cross from En-Nesyri! Just like that the away side shock the Spanish champions.
Could we now see Lionel Messi? Still more than 30 minutes for Barcelona to score a second, but Leganes have already shown their quality in the final third of the field here.
YELLOW CARD! Roberto (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Braithwaite.
SAVE! Ter Stegen is on hand to save Oscar's free kick from a dangerous position.
BARCELONA SUBS! Messi and Rakitic replaces Alena and Arthur, who have not been at their best tonight. Messi is needed and do not put it past him to come up with the winner here.
Pass, pass, pass from Barcelona as they look for openings. Leganes continue to sit deep and they will be playing on the counter-attack in the final 25 minutes or so here.
Barcelona have a concern over Dembele, who hits the deck and stays there.
Dembele slipped when attempting to play the ball and does not look comfortable.
Dembele is back on his feet and it does not appear that he will be able ton continue.
BARCELONA SUB! Malcom replaces Dembele for Barcelona.
Little under 20 minutes of the second period remaining and we are still locked at 1-1. We have not seen too much from Messi since he entered, while Luis Suarez has also been quiet.
GOAL! BARCELONA 2-1 LEGANES (LUIS SUAREZ)
Barcelona re-take the lead in the 71st minute as Luis Suarez converts from close range after Cuellar had made a wonderful save to keep out a strike from Messi. VAR will just check...
... VAR were looking for a foul or an offside, but the goal has been given!
Cuellar is back on his feet following a period of treatment. The Leganes goalkeeper took some heavy contact from Luis Suarez, but VAR were happy for the goal to stand.
Little over 10 minutes of normal time remaining and Leganes are going to make their first change of the match as they look for a second leveller in the latter stages here.
LEGANES SUB! Santos replaces Braithwaite for the away side.
SAVE! Smart save from Cuellar to keep out a powerful Luis Suarez effort!
Not too much happening for Leganes at the moment as Barcelona continue to keep the ball. The difference that Messi has made since entering the field is just incredible.
Dangerous moment inside the Barcelona box as a ball comes in towards Santos, but Vermaelen does really well to make the clearance under pressure.
Leganes are preparing to make a double change as we head for the final minutes.
LEGANES SUB! El Har and Eraso replace Oscar and Vesga for the away side.
Bit of pressure from Leganes in the last couple of minutes, but Barcelona manage to clear their lines once again and Busquets can race clear before feeding Malcom out wide.
There will be healthy amount of added time at the end of this match.
We are into the first of seven, yes seven, additional minutes!
GOAL! BARCELONA 3-1 LEGANES (MESSI)
Three points secure! Barcelona score their third in the 92nd minute as Messi combines with Alba before smashing the ball into the top corner of the net. Brilliant!
Well, Barcelona have needed Messi tonight, but that is what he is there for. It is a huge three points for the Spanish champions when considering the score was 1-1 not too long ago.
Rakitic dances away from a few challenges before delivering low towards Messi, but Siovas is on hand to make the clearance. The final whistle will be going very soon here.
SAVE! Wonderful save from Cuellar to deny Luis Suarez from close range!
FULL TIME: BARCELONA 3-1 LEGANES
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Barcelona recording a 3-1 win over Leganes at Camp Nou to move five points clear at the summit once again. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. Until next time!