Barcelona are back to winning ways in La Liga thanks to a routine 2-0 victory over Villarreal at Camp Nou on Sunday. This wasn’t exactly a vintage performance, but it was solid for 90 minutes and very good in many aspects, and it momentarily sends the Catalans to the top of the league table.
Barça established themselves as the dominant team from the very beginning, dominating possession and passing the ball quickly and with purpose. Ousmane Dembélé was very active, constantly taking players on and looking to link up with Lionel Messi and Nélson Semedo as the right wing was a constant sort of creativity for the Blaugrana.
Villarreal defended deep and look to hurt Barça on the counter, and they did it early on when Gerard Moreno was quick to chase a long ball and hit the post for his team. That was the only chance the Yellow Submarine would have in the first half, though, as Barça pressured them high up the pitch and continued to create chances when Jordi Alba got more involved on the left side.
The home team eventually broke down the Villarreal defense and got a goal for their efforts ten minutes before the end of the half: after a corner was cleared and came back to Dembélé, the Frenchman played an amazing cross and Gerard Piqué headed home the opener.
At halftime, Barça were the better team and deserved the lead. They just needed to keep up the good work and secure the victory.
The second half wasn’t too much different from the first, with Barça still dominating possession and creating chances, though they couldn’t quite find a really big opportunity. Villarreal made attacking changes looking for the equalizer, but they never managed to truly bother the Barça defense and we had quite a dull game for most of the final period.
Then Messi happened: the captain played a beautiful through ball to Carles Aleñá, and the young man chipped the keeper to score a great debut goal for the club and seal the victory. The final whistle came to end a very good night for Barça, with a clean sheet and three points. That’s good stuff.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal (Aleñá); Dembélé, Messi, Coutinho (Malcom)
Goals: Piqué (35’), Aleñá (87’)
Villarreal: Asenjo; Mario, Álvaro, Ruíz, Pedraza; Trigueros (Bacca), Cáseres, Cazorla (Raba); Chukwueze, Gerard (Ekambi), Fornals