On the point of claiming the title (2-0)
Barça again won the city derby with a 2-0 win that leaves them needing just a point to take the league title. Iniesta and Piqué scored the goals in what proved to be a comfortable win.
The title might still be a point off, but there was a real party atmosphere at the Camp Nou, with the Youth and Futsal teams both parading their recently won trophies before the game began. Iniesta in the first half and Piqué in the second put the game out of Espanyol’s reach, but the match never really hit the intense heights of recent derbies.
So, a win or a draw at Llevant on Wednesday night will be enough to hand Barça their third consecutive league title, though if Madrid fail to win against Getafe on Tuesday, then the title will be theirs whatever happens on Wednesday.
Callejón came close for the visitors right at the start, but then Barça began to impose their passing, possession game, maybe playing a little too much in the middle and without taking advantage of the spaces behind Espanyol’s high defence, but rarely troubled as they patiently waited for an opportunity. The visitors were defending with ten men behind the ball and trying to crowd Barça out in midfield and that did indeed limit Barça to just a couple of chances in the first quarter of an hour.
Iniesta opens up Espanyol defence
Barça have the perfect antitode to packed defences though, in the brilliant ball playing skills of players such as Iniesta, who came close to opening the scoring on 20 minutes and then did so, skipping through the Espanyol ranks after a poor clearance from Galan just before the half hour. The game wasn’t as vibrant as the Camp Nou crowd have perhaps come to expect, but Villa had a great chance to double the lead before the break and the hosts went in ahead and looking in control.
Piqué makes it two
Pochettino threw on Luis García for Iván Alonso in an attempt to get back into the game, but Piqué firmly closed the door on any hopes the visitors might have, heading home a pinpoint corner form Xavi just two minutes after the game resumed. Osvaldo was the only spark of danger to Barça, as the game, and the title, slipped inexorably in their favour.
Abidal gets great reception
Espanyol never stopped running, but at 2-0 there really was no way back and Guardiola called on his bench with one eye to the upcoming fixtures, with Abidal receiving a great reception as he came on and the minutes ticked by. Three more points and just one more to take the title!