Barcelona made their official La Liga season debut on Sunday and it was a successful one as the Blaugrana dominated Villarreal en route to a 4-0 victory at Camp Nou. All the goals came in a scintillating first half that gave us plenty of encouraging signs and showed that Ronald Koeman may be putting together a pretty good team.
Villarreal were the better team to start the game. For three minutes. After that, it was almost scary to watch how dominant Barça looked against a pretty good team. The Blaugrana showed great intensity whenever they lost the ball and pressed really high at all times, and the front four of Griezmann, Coutinho, Ansu Fati and Messi constantly moved around the final third looking to create chances with smart passing and movement.
The chances started coming, and so did the goals: Ansu Fati scored two really good ones in a span of four minutes, then won a penalty to give Messi a chance to score the third, which the captain did. And there was also an own goal by Pau Torres to make it 4-0 at halftime. But the goals weren’t the whole story: Barça were truly dominant on both sides of the ball and put together a couple of truly special attacking moves that we hadn’t seen in a while.
At halftime, Barça were not just winning. They weren’t just playing well. They were dominant, and that was very fun to watch.
Villarreal had more of the ball to start the second half as they looked for a consolation goal and had a few dangerous moments, but nothing to truly bother the Barça defense. The Blaugrana weren’t as intense as they were in the first half but still managed to have a few good moments in attack whenever Ansu Fati, Coutinho, Alba and Messi were involved.
But nothing really interesting happened and the final whistle came to end a solid opening win for the Catalan giants. Barça were awesome in the first half, cruised in the second and are off and running for the season.
Barcelona: Neto; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets (Pjanic 78’), De Jong; Griezmann (Trincão 78’), Coutinho (Pedri 70’), Ansu Fati (Dembélé (70’); Messi
Goals: Ansu Fati (15’, 19’), Messi (35’ pen.), Torres (45’ OG)
Villarreal: Asenjo; Gaspar, Albiol (Funes Mori 84’), Torres, Estupiñán; Chukwueze (Kubo 74’), Coquelin (Trigueros 46’), Parejo, Gómez; Gerard (Bacca 84’), Alcácer (Iborra 46’)