Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde backs Ousmane Dembele to get better

Ernesto Valverde banks on debutant Ousmane Dembele to make instant impact against Espanyol

Dembele will form a fearsome forward line alongside five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as Barca aim to wrestle the Champions League and La Liga titles back from rivals Real Madrid.

Messi netted twice before the break and later completed his hat-trick, allowing manager Ernesto Valverde to introduce Dembele when the game was already won, and the young French winger wasted no time in making his mark by providing a ideal assist for Luis Suarez to complete the scoring.

Our opposition this evening are our local rivals Espanyol with Barcelona looking to make it 3 wins out of 3.

Ernesto Valverde banks on debutant Ousmane Dembele to make instant impact against Espanyol

Meanwhile, not too far away from there, Real Madrid drew, at home, for the second straight match.

As expected, it was Barcelona that took control of the early possession, but aside from a Messi effort, which flew harmlessly over the crossbar, Espanyol restricted the hosts to very little inside the opening 15 minutes. Replays, however, showed that the Argentine was in an offside position.

It continued to be one-way traffic and on 87 minutes, Gerard Pique nodded home from a corner and it was 5-0 soon after when Luis Suarez coolly rolled the ball in following nice work by Dembele.

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Ganso opened the scoring in the 46th minute before Wassim Ben Yedder doubled their lead in the 76th minute and Nolito sealed an eventually comfortable win in injury time.

Barcelona did have their second in the 36th minute, however, when Jordi Alba squeezed a low cross into Messi, who simply could not pass up the opportunity to find the back of the net.

Espanyol's Pablo Piatti was unlucky not to pull a goal back when his sweetly-struck left-footed volley came back off the post just before half-time.

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The Argentina forward completed his 38th Barcelona hat-trick when he finished off from another Alba cross.

Barca will now prepare for their opening fixture of their 2017/18 Champions League campaign on Tuesday night, when last year's finalists - and the side who overcame the Catalonians last time around - Juventus visit the holy footballing amphitheatre for what will certainly be another clash to behold.

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