Barcelona are now isolated at the top of the La Liga table thanks to another win at home, this time against Villarreal. Neymar Jr. was once again spectacular, Luis Suárez scored, and the Blaugrana look like world-beaters again. Here's a few takeways from Barça's win as we head to the international break.
1. Barça's defense finally looks solid
It took some time and plenty of goals and painful losses thanks to individual mistakes and overall bad play, but the Blaugrana defensive system is good again. The "but we only faced weak teams" argument doesn't really matter because the team was conceding even to weak teams earlier this season. The tactical part of the defense looks better, the players have improved individually and their confidence is rising because of it, which is vital as we enter now the toughest part of the early season schedule. Every defender is doing well, and that was the objective when the weak opponents came around. Now it's time to defend well against the big boys. The signs are encouraging.
2. Vintage Andrés Iniesta is back
The Barça skipper was simply amazing on Sunday, doing the things that made him one of the greatest midfielders in history. His body looks healthy, his skills are also there, and he seems comfortable again with himself and the scheme. The imminent return of Lionel Messi will also give him more weapons to work with, and the international break will give him opportunities to increase his match fitness for El Clásico. We need more Good Old Iniesta Games, and if Sunday was any indication, we can look forward to seeing a few extra sauce from Don Andrés.
3. Neymar Jr. has reached another level
It is not crazy anymore to compare Neymar to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Brazilian took the keys of the kingdom during Messi's absence and simply became what we all thought he could become one day. You know the Neymar that will carry the torch when Messi goes away? We saw two months of it. And it is spectacular. It's tough to picture Ney having the same freedom and control of the whole team once Leo comes back, but we now know that he can step up and run things if Messi is having a rough night. He's a superstar already, and it's time to consider his spot among football's greats.