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From The Mind of Xoel: Neymar’s Brace leads Barça to 2-1 Win

Neymar got a brace on the night as FC Barcelona defeated Villarreal CF 2-1 on Saturday night at the Camp Nou. In this article, Xoel Càrdenas gives you his take on the game, Neymar's brilliance, poor corner kick defending, and Tata Martino needing to stop using Cesc Fabregas at the False 9 spot.

David Ramos

FC Barcelona kept their winning ways going against Villarreal on Saturday as Neymar's brace sunk the Yellow Submarine with a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou.

Neymar got the scoring started in the 29th minute as a hand ball was called on Villarreal's Mario on a Jordi Alba pass inside the box. Neymar smoothly rolled the ball past Sergio Asenjo for the 1-0 lead. In the second half, Mateo Musacchio tied the game as his header off a corner kick beat Jose Manuel Pinto for the equalizer. Neymar gave Barcelona the lead again in the 68th minute. A great pass by Cesc Fabregas to Alexis, who was onside, and Sanchez fed Neymar for the Brazilian's second goal on the night.

Let's get to the Best, Worst, and What We Learned from this game.

The Best: Neymar, Sergio Busquets, and Alexis

Sergio Busquets had a great game on Saturday. His passes were, as always, a work of art, and he, as always, was the calming factor of the Barça midfield. Alexis Sanchez was good on the night as well. Even though he did not score a goal, his hustle, his passes, and his threat of goal-scoring kept giving the Villarreal back line a scare.

Neymar was glorious against Villarreal. The kid grabbed two goals on the night, and he should have had a third. Neymar would have had his second hat trick in less than five days. Ney did get a yellow card in this game, which will cause him to miss the next La Liga match against Getafe. Nevertheless, Neymar continues to show why he is the best young player in the world.

Neymar:  22 games for FC Barcelona

10 goals

10 assists

Best transfer of 2013, and potentially one of the best in FC Barcelona history. (Gareth who?)

The Worst: Barcelona defending the corner kick

I can't say that Barcelona had many poor moments in this game, but the big concern for this team for a few years now is defending the corner kick. Given Barça is a group of shorter players, but still, this team needs to continue to improve on defending the corner kick. Marc Bartra did a poor job defending the Villarreal corner which lead to the Yellow Submarine's lone goal on the night. Bartra has been the best CB for Barcelona all season long, but he is still young and has plenty to work on. I'm not trying to make a big deal out of one goal, just want to reiterate one thing that must be improved on.

What We Learned: Tata Martino needs to stop playing Cesc Fabregas as a False 9.

I've been saying this for a while, and I'm going to continue to say it: Tata Martino needs to keep Cesc Fabreags out of the False 9 spot, period!

I understand this team does not have a true striker, but for me, I'd rather have another forward like Neymar (the best choice), Pedro, Alexis or Cristian Tello at the False 9 spot than Cesc. It's nothing against Fabregas. I'm a huge Francesc fan. It's just that Cesc is a poor False 9 for this team, and he belongs at the midfield spot. Fabregas is very limited at the nine spot, he can't make the passes he's accustomed to making, and unlike Leo Messi and Neymar, Cesc can't always create his own goal-scoring opportunities.

He's a natural midfielder, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's a great mid! Cesc playing the False 9 for the Spanish National Team works because, believe it or not, La Furia Roja plays a different kind of tiki-taka system than Barça's tiki-taka. I know they look similar, but they are not. Most importantly, it's the players that make the difference between Barça vs. Spain's False 9 system. Against Villarreal, when Cesc moved back to a midfield position, he was able to find Alexis who set up Neymar for the second Barcelona goal.

Tata, listen to me. Keep Cesc out of the False 9. You're weakening Cesc's game and the team when that happens. Let him be himself in midfield, and put one of the forwards in the nine spot. Put a bit of pressure on them. With Neymar suspended for the next Liga game against Getafe, a forward like Alexis or Pedro at the nine spot wouldn't be a bad thing, all while keeping Cesc at the midfield spot so he can create plays for the forwards.

What's Next?: Tuesday vs. Cartagena

Barça stay at the Camp Nou for the week and will host FC Cartagena in the return leg of their Copa del Rey campaign. With a 4-1 aggregate lead (all road goals too), look for Tata Martino to rest a few players and play some of the bench and/or Barça B players. Sergi Roberto should get a start, as well as Cristian Tello. Don't be surprised to see Patrić, Jean Marie Dongou or Adama Traore start as well.

Xoel's Final World

It was a solid win for Tata Martino's men as they got the 2-1 win against a solid Villarreal team on Saturday night.

Time to rest up a bit, and allow some of the non-starters to play against FC Cartagena this week.

A hard-fought win, continuing to improve as a team, and move five points up on Real Madrid. Not a bad Saturday at all.


Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona

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