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Sunday's Villarreal performance a reminder that the Copa del Rey title is not yet guaranteed

David Ramos/Getty Images

The electric 3-2 win against Villarreal on Sunday gave Barcelona fans another reason to smile. The Blaugrana reached their season-best eighth straight victory and finished a formidable start to 2015. Amongst the impressive wins in January, a terrific Copa Del Rey clash with Atlético Madrid. The Colchoneros were tough as always, and it took a tremendous effort to survive the Calderón battle and advance to the Copa semifinal.

Given that both Atlético and Real Madrid are out of the competition, it would be easy to assume that Barça are the overwhelming favorites to win the Spanish Cup. But it will be not that easy to get to the final, let alone bring home the trophy. That's because the next Barça opponent is none other than the same Villarreal that caused so many problems in the two La Liga matches this season.

Sunday's win ended at 18-game unbeaten streak by the Yellow Submarine, and that amazing sequence shows that Villarreal is prepared to shock the world and kick Barça out of the Copa. They're fundamentally sound, defensively strong, well coached and have enough talent to create scores via individual plays. And, as they showed on Sunday, their counter-attack is deadly. Barça dodged a number of bullets all game, and they were somewhat lucky to only concede twice.

Their battle for a place in the final starts next week at Camp Nou. Don't think for one second that it will be easy. But the Blaugrana have already showed that they're strong enough to face adversity and beat a very tough opponent. Let's hope they do it again and finally have a good chance to win a trophy.

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