La Liga: Xavi secures first win as Barcelona boss
Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, who replaced Ronald Koeman as the club's manager, secured a win in his first game in charge. Barca overcame local rivals Espanyol 1-0 in a crucial La Liga encounter. Memphis Depay scored a 48th-minute penalty to help his side gain all three points. Espanyol wasted several opportunities in the second half and that hurt them.
Why does this story matter?
This was a massive result for Xavi in what was his maiden win as Barca manager. He needed the confidence and to gain the same at home will help him and the players. The win helped Barca move to sixth in the table and Xavi knows he has a stiff test ahead in terms of helping the club move upwards.
Barca pip Espanyol at home
Barca created an opening after 13 minutes after Jordi Alba's low cross was met by 17-year-old debutant Ilias Akhomach but the teenager blasted his shot high and wide. Barca kept the pressure on and missed several chances. Leandro Cabrera brought down Memphis on 46 minutes as the Dutchman converted the penalty next. Meanwhile, Espanyol hit the post twice and Landry Dimata missed a sitter.
Key numbers for Barca
Xavi faced 12 shots in his first La Liga match as a coach. As per Opta, this is the highest record by a manager on his La Liga debut for Barcelona since Frank Rijkaard against Athletic in August 2002 (17). Meanwhile, Barcelona attempted 11 shots against Espanyol (four on target), their highest total in a first half of a match this season across competitions.
Notable numbers for Memphis Depay
As per Opta, no player has won more points with his goals than Memphis in La Liga this season (7 points with 7 goals, level with Mikel Oyarzabal, 7 with 6). Memphis now has seven goals in all competitions this season (17 matches).
Barca get to 20 points, fifth loss for Espanyol
In 13 matches this season, Barca have collected 20 points (W5 D5 L3). They have become the fifth side to net 20-plus goals this season in La Liga (20). Espanyol are placed 11th, suffering their fifth loss of the campaign.