Luis Suárez was on target again to win the game for Barça, and the goal takes him ahead of Ladislao Kubala in the all-time top scorer standings
With five players at the back and four in midfield, Espanyol had set their stall out from the first minute, and with both lines keeping close together it meant that Barça had little space within which to work in the opening few minutes.
A defence splitting pass from Leo Messi on eight minutes set Luis Suárez free, but with no one in support the chance was passed up. As was Embarba’s for the visitors just two minutes later, Barça thankful to Marc-André ter Stegen for keeping the score goalless.
Both teams continued to cancel each other out with Barça going the closest from a Messi free-kick just after the 20-minute mark.
A great threaded pass from Antoine Griezmann found Suárez shortly after, and though the Uruguayan was unable to find the net, the hosts were beginning to exert some consistent pressure on their opponents.
Espanyol were completely hemmed into their own half with only the occasional foray into Barça territory, but that did include a scare after Los Periquitos hit the post just before half-time.
The pattern of the second-half began in much the same way as the first 45 had.
Ansu Fati, a half-time substitution, had only been on the pitch for four minutes before being sent off for a high challenge after a VAR review. Espanyol’s Pol Lozano was then similarly red carded three minutes later.
A stunning save from a Leo Messi volley by Diego Lopez on 67 stopped the visitors from going two goals behind, and as the match moved into its final stages, the game opened up in the midfield areas a little more.
Aside from some late half chances, there was no further goalmouth incident to speak of, meaning Barça got the job done and picked up all three points.