PHOTO: Ex-Arsenal man Vermaelen watches on as Barcelona cruise to win

Thomas Vermaelen Pre FA Cup Press Conference

Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen had to watch from the stands as Barcelona won their opening La Liga game of the season.

Former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen had to watch from the stands as Barcelona kicked off their La Liga season.

Barcelona hosted Elche at the Nou Camp, and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

Breaking the deadlock was star man Lionel Messi, who scored twice, sandwiching a goal from teenager attacker Munir El Haddadi.

Former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano was sent off midway through the first half, leaving Barcelona to play out the rest of the game with 10 men.

New signing Jeremy Mathieu did start in defence, but it was a relatively easy night. He made just one clearance, and that was the only one any Barcelona defender did all night.

Vermaelen has begun training after a hamstring injury set him back following his switch earlier this month, an injury he picked up at the World Cup with Belgium.

He will compete with Gerard Pique, Mathieu and Mascherano for a place at the back, and if last night is anything to go by, he could be in for a few simple nights marshalling the defence this coming campaign.

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