Villareal vs Barcelona saw a dominant performance by the Barça defense to survive the second half pressure from Villarreal and pick up three more points and extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.
The attack was hugely disappointing, but the backline continues to look amazing and Barça get a huge win in a really tough environment.
Barça made a fantastic start to the game, creating a massive chance just three minutes in when Pedri played a gorgeous through ball to a wide open Robert Lewandowski, but the Pole took too much time to take a shot and Pepe Reina made an important one-on-one save.
The Blaugrana continued to move the ball quickly between the lines and press high up the pitch to create dangerous chances, and that’s how they got the opening goal: Jules Kounde won the ball in the final third, and the Catalans moved it very quickly into the box where Pedri and Lewandowski made a beautiful one-two and Pedri found the back of the net.
At halftime Barça were leading and playing well, but Villarreal’s strong finish to the period made it clear that the second half was not going to be easy.
The final period was played almost at a basketball pace, with the ball constantly bypassing midfield and constant transition from both teams. Barça fully embraced that counter-attack mentality and created plenty of chances on the break, but Lewandowski, Raphinha and Pedri each missed huge opportunitites to double the lead early on and Barça just couldn’t put the game away.
Villarreal were unable to pile up the pressure and their players were constantly caught in offside positions, and whenever the home team found spaces inside the Barça defense their attacks were killed by Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen who were dominant at the back.
But the hosts were still alive going into the final 15 minutes, and Barça were in need of a second goal to kill off the game. They kept getting into dangerous positions on the counter but wasted those opportunities with bad decisions in the final third, and they nearly paid for it when Samuel Chukwueze scored a 90th minute equalizer that was fortunately ruled for an offside in the buildup.
The attacking performance was frustrating, but the defense was amazing once again. After years and years of terrible play at the back Barça are truly a force on that end now and deserve huge credit for that evolution.
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