Alena grabs his chance with both hands
Ernesto Valverde spoke about Carles Alena before Sunday’s match and said the youngster would need to take his chances and battle for a place in the team.
He certainly did that with a superb cameo which he capped off with a brilliant finish for Barcelona’s second goal.
He’ll get another chance to impress on Wednesday against Cultural Leonesa, and a similar performance may see him rewarded with more minutes against Espanyol on Saturday.
Pique’s back on form as Barcelona finally keep a clean sheet
It’s no secret that Gerard Pique had a pretty shaky start to the season, but he’s looked much better in recent weeks and really shone against Villarreal.
His well-taken header opened the scoring and means he’s netted four times this season in all competitions already:
4 - Only Sergio Ramos (five) has scored more goals than Gerard Pique (four) this season in all competitions among @LaLigaEN defenders. Titan. pic.twitter.com/gFXbyTzx9n— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 2, 2018
Defensively he was also strong, as Barcelona kept their first La Liga clean sheet since the 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in August.
Dembele is proving his worth
Another game and another important contribution from Ousmane Dembele. His cross for Pique’s opener means he’s now scored or assisted in five of his last six Barcelona games.
He was fun to watch down the right, linking well with Nelson Semedo. using his pace to good effect and tormenting Villarreal with his skill on the ball.
@Dembouz in a spin! #BarçaVillarreal pic.twitter.com/wMoTWJoSmp— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 2, 2018
He was more than happy to run at Villarreal, and you sensed danger every time he got on the ball and began to power down the flank.
8 - Ousmane Dembélé completed eight of his 10 dribbles against Villarreal, more than in any other game for @FCBarcelona in all competitions. Danger. pic.twitter.com/Dlu93gcNMr— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 2, 2018
Valverde praised Dembele after the game, and he fully deserved the plaudits as one of the best players on the pitch.