FC Barcelona stayed on the tails of Real Madrid in chase of the La Liga title with an impressive 4-0 win over Athletic Club at Camp Nou.
Ousmane Dembele ran the show for the hosts with a goal and assists for Sergi Roberto, Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres as the Catalans responded to Madrid’s win over Sevilla.
Xavi once again changed his team’s system implementing a 4-2-3-1 to give Dembele more freedom to roam and it paid off big time. The Frenchman got things going with a goal from a header in the 12th minute.
He then turned provider for the first time in the 18th, playing Roberto through after nifty buildup play and the defender’s shot nestled into the net after taking a deflection.
Just four minutes later he got his second assist by making space down the right-hand side before crossing to Lewandowski who easily beat Unai Simon to keep his goal-scoring run going.
With the game already in the bag, Barcelona suffered a major setback with Gavi having to be taken off after suffering an injury. The 18-year-old is expected to play a key role for Spain at the upcoming World Cup so his injury is bad news for both Barcelona and his national side.
Dembele, who was subject to boos from his own supporters not even 12 months ago, still had time for his third assist to Ferran Torres in the 73rd minute despite the game slowing down for the second half with the result in the bag.
The win over Athletic leaves Barcelona just three points adrift of Real Madrid with 28 after 11 games.