Nov 1, 2013 at 8pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Barcelona
1-0
Espanyol
Sanchez (68')
Mascherano (77')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Rafael Fuentes (45'), Sanchez (67'), Lanzarote (90')

Match Analysis: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

Match Analysis: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol
© Getty Images
Sports Mole dissects the action as Barcelona record a 1-0 win over Espanyol in the Camp Nou.

Alexis Sanchez scored the only goal of the match as Barcelona beat Espanyol at the Camp Nou on Friday evening.

The home side dominated the possession in the first period, but could not make the breakthrough with the scores level at the interval.

Barca finally opened the scoring after 68 minutes courtesy of Sanchez, with that strike handing them all three points.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two Spanish rivals.

Match statistics:

Barcelona:
Shots: 14
On target: 5
Possession: 74%
Corners: 9
Fouls: 7

Espanyol:
Shots: 5
On target: 2
Possession: 26%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 18

Was the result fair?

In truth, Barcelona certainly deserved to pick up all three points this evening. However, it was arguably their poorest performance of the season. Espanyol came to stifle their rivals, which worked for the best part of 70 minutes, until Sanchez opened the scoring. You felt that Espanyol needed to score first if they were to take something from the Camp Nou, but they created very little throughout the entirety.

Barcelona's performance

Barcelona are not playing as well as they did in the early part of last season, but the results continue to arrive. It is difficult to criticise a team that has won 11 of their 12 league matches this season, but their inability to carve out clear chances this evening will be a concern. It is also another game without a goal for Lionel Messi, who has not scored in his last four league matches. It was a case of winning ugly for the home side this evening, which the supporters will not mind if trophies arrive at the end of the season.

Espanyol's performance

Defensively, Espanyol were very impressive this evening. However, they were just about as poor as you could possibly imagine in the final third. Javier Aguirre set his team out to frustrate Barcelona, which was the case for long periods. However, forwards Thievy Bifouma and Sergio Garcia were frustrated for long spells of the match. It might have been a different story had Garcia scored in the latter stages of the first period, but the Catalan outfit did not create anywhere near enough to deserve to take something from the match.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Victor Sanchez: Espanyol were not too impressive in the final third this evening, but they unnerved Barcelona for long spells. Much of that was down to the performance of Sanchez, who put in a fine display in the middle of the park. The Spaniard was also composed on the ball, which cannot be said for a number of his teammates.

Biggest gaffe

Barcelona's lack of invention in the first period was worrying. They had 79% of the possession, but did not threaten to take the lead until Dani Alves hit the post in the latter stages of the half. It has been a criticism that has been aimed at them this season, but it is not an issue while they continue to pick up victories.

Referee performance

Overall, Carlos Velasco can be content with his work in the Camp Nou this evening. Barcelona were not too pleased with their lack of protection in the first period, but the Spaniard did let the match flow in the correct areas. He was hardly seen in the second 45 minutes, which is always a good sign for a referee.

What next?

Barcelona: Barca are in Champions League action at home to AC Milan next week before they travel to Real Betis in the league on November 10.

Espanyol: Aguirre's side will attempt to return to winning ways when they welcome Sevilla on November 10.

Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez celebrates with teammate Neymar after scoring the opening goal against Espanyol on November 1, 2013
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