They say you should keep your friends close, and your enemies closer; but I think there's also a good argument for maintaining a thirteen point gap over your arch-rivals. Following Real Madrid's 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday, Barcelona needed a win to extend the gap back to thirteen points; and they duly obliged, running out comfortable 3-1 winners against Rayo Vallecano. The visitors managed a number of shots on Jose Manuel Pinto's goal, but the majority of those shots were speculative efforts from long-range, meaning that they had no response when Barcelona eventually opened the scoring through David Villa.
Starting four matches in succession for the first time since breaking his tibia against Al-Sadd, Villa has grabbed this opportunity with both hands; forming a deadly partnership with Lionel Messi. Despite speculation that the two don't see eye-to-eye, it's clear that Messi relishes the chance to play alongside El Guaje - and vice versa, just look at last night's match for proof. There may have been bad news in the shape of an injury for Adriano, and Barca couldn't keep their third successive clean sheet, but all in all, this was a good performance; a performance that moves the Blaugrana three points closer to reclaiming their title.