It was a tough game but Barca picked up another three points and another clean sheet to keep them five points clear at the top.
Let’s get talking!
Busquets booking leaves him at risk of missing El Clasico
Sergio Busquets picked up his fourth booking of the season in the first half, meaning one more will incur a one-match suspension.
Ernesto Valverde therefore has a decision to make – does he risk him against Deportivo La Coruna next weekend, knowing another booking will rule him out of El Clasico?
Barca’s injury problems means they can ill-afford to be without Busquets for such a crucial game and it would therefore be no surprise if he sat out next weekend’s clash.
However, Valverde has already shown this season he is willing to play his most important players, even when they are at risk of suspension.
Gerard Pique missed the trip to Valencia after receiving his fifth booking of the season against Leganes, so it’s possible Busquets could feature against Depor.
Barca better with Paco in the team
Paco Alcacer scored again in midweek and can consider himself unlucky to have been left out of the starting line-up for this one.
However, he still made an impression, the striker was thrown on just shy of the hour mark, went close with his first touch before swapping passes with Suarez for the opener.
Barca’s lack of attacking fluency this season is evident, but what is becoming obvious is that the team looks far more dangerous when Paco is in it.
Woodwork still denying Barcelona
The amount of times Barca have hit the goalframe this season is starting to get out of hand, quite frankly.
There have been so many complaints about the team’s style, yet they are still La Liga’s top scorers and they have also hit the woodwork 21 times.
Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi were the unlucky ones this week but it’s still a quite amazing statistic.
Alba deserves more praise
Messi and Suarez might have scored the goals but it was Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets who were probably Barca’s best players in a hard-fought game.
In a team short on creativity, Alba is becoming Barca’s best outlet out wide on the left and he created four chances against Villarreal.
The full-back comes in for an awful lot of stick, but right now he is one of Barca’s best players and deserves some credit.
Denis disappoints again
Denis Suarez is getting plenty of chances this season, Andres Iniesta’s injury means he made his 10th La Liga appearance of the season against Villarreal.
Unfortunately, he was the first to be hauled off after an ineffective showing and missed another chance to prove to Valverde he deserves a place in his team.
Tonight was a big chance for Denis, but one he didn’t take, and it remains to be seen how many more opportunities he will be given.