Match Report : Villarreal vs FC Barcelona

Barcelona visited the yellow submarine today in hopes of keeping the title race mathematically alive. Setien made some changes to the lineup and sent out the following starting XI: Ter Stegen, Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Semedo, Busquets, Roberto, Messi, Griezmann and Suarez.

Griezmann played in his natural role for the first time since the beginning of the season when Messi was injured. Messi was dropped to the false nice, with Suarez in front of him.

The first half was all Barcelona. Barcelona dominated possession and were gifted an early goal. In the 4th minute, Alba made his signature run down the wing and Greizmanns movement inside the box caused the defender to deflect Alba’s cross into the net giving Barcelona a 1-0 lead. Villarreal quickly equalized on a quick counterattack lead by Paco Alcocer and finished by Gerard Moreno.

Minutes later, Messi went on another dazzling run, leaving 3 defenders stunned and he laid the ball off to Suarez whom placed the ball beautifully in the top corner. A sensational goal. Just as the half was about to end, Messi went on another run yet again and back heeled the ball leaving it at the top of the box and Greizmann was there to lob it over the keepers reach as it kissed the crossbar and ended in the back of the net. Greizmanns goal was very similar to Messi’s goal last season in Sevilla against Real Betis. A subliminal and beautiful finish.

Second half

The second half dead. It did not live up to the hype of the first half. Barcelona continued to look for the forth goal and Ansu Fati delivered in the 87th minute with a quick run and cut in the box with a calm finish to the bottom corner.

The game was over in the first half, but Fati killed any hopes from Villarreal. An important victory from Barcelona still leaves them trailing Real Madrid by four points. After the optimistic win over Villarreal,Barcelona will host Espanyol on Wednesday. We can almost certainly relegate them with a win.

Takeaways from the match

  • Greizmann needs to continue playing in this position. The World Cup winner had his best performance all season. He looked comfortable in the team finally and meshed extremely well with Messi and Suarez. He played more freely and was instrumental in today’s match.
  • The back line needs to improve. We’ve been critical all season about Barcelona’s leaky defense, rightly so, and the flaws were on display once again today. The first Villarreal goal was a consequence of terrible defending by Barcelona that left Villarreal in a perfect position to counter attack, leaving Ter Stegen helpless.
  • The youngsters continue to prove why they are so important to the squad. Fati played for only 20 minutes but provided that spark that we needed in the second half. Puig continued his impressive stretch of flawless performances with a dazzling display in the second half. The intensity and Barcelona DNA they bring is instrumental and gives us hope for the future.

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