Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
Sport | By Scott Davis

Will Dembele Make His Barcelona Debut Tonight?

Will Dembele Make His Barcelona Debut Tonight?

At the Nou Camp Messi put Barca on their way to a routine victory over their struggling neighbours in the 26th minute with a trademark piece of close control in the area and bullet finish into the top corner, although he had received the ball in an offside position.

Valverde conceded that resting players in preparation for that match was a possibility, but he insisted his side would be taking Espanyol "very seriously". He's offside from the moment the move starts.

Real Sociedad are the only other team besides Barcelona that can count up to nine points from the first three matches, and while this season is extremely long (35 more matches to go), a 4 point lead so early is always a welcome thing in Catalonia, especially when those dropped points came at home.

Valverde had a two-year spell as an Espanyol player between 1986 and 1988, reaching the 1988 UEFA Cup final, and later guided Barcelona's city rivals to the 2007 UEFA Cup final, where they also lost on penalties, during a two-year tenure as coach.

It only took 10 minutes for Messi to bag his second, thanks to an assist from Jordi Alba. Having returned from an worldwide break, the players will be keen to continue their winning start and assert their dominance on this La Liga campaign.

Messi and Suarez played one-twos into the box and the ball broke to Alba, with the mercurial Argentinian on hand to convert the cutback once more to take the lead for three, with Dembele introduced shortly afterwards, followed by fellow new signing Paulinho shortly afterwards.

Espanyol came close to registering late in the first period when Piatti worked a yard of space inside the Barcelona box before attempting to find the corner of the net, but the ball smashed off the post as the two-goal separation remained entering the half-time break.

The hosts dominated possession in the first half but had only the Uruguayan's free kick, which forced a save from Pau Lopez, to show for in the opening 20 minutes.

Sept 9, 2017 Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Ousmane Dembele and Andre Gomes.

A mix-up between Ter Stegen and Alba nearly gave Espanyol a lifeline in the 51st minute but Piatti's lofted shot bounced just wide.

Lionel Messi is now the all-time top scorer in the Catalan derby in La Liga (16).

Barcelona have two out of two wins in this new season of the La Liga.

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