Barcelona 2-1 Villarreal: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
Barcelona edged out Villarreal 2-1 in a tense affair at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
The La Liga champions got into their passing rhythm early and dominated the early exchanges. However, their opener arrived via an unlikely avenue when Antoine Griezmann flicked a Lionel Messi corner past Sergio Asenjo.
Nine minutes later, Arthur Melo stamped his mark on the game with a sumptuous strike from 25 yards.
Villarreal though, halved the deficit before the break when Santi Cazorla blazed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen from distance.
After the restart, both teams failed to add to their tallies even though the hosts were carved out better openings.
Here is a look at the talking points from the game.
#5 A first half of stupendous strikes
Barcelona and Villarreal arrived at the Camp Nou having scored the most number of goals in the La Liga season so far. The pair had made the net bulge on 12 occasions in 5 games and that whetted the appetite for several anticipating an open game on Tuesday.
Though the match didn’t flow as much as expected in the opening 45 minutes, both teams showcased the offensive quality that has enabled them to breach opposition defences with ease.
In the 6th minute, Antoine Griezmann nodded home a delicious Lionel Messi corner at the near post. The goal might not make as many headlines as some of the others that were produced in the half yet, the execution of that particular header was just as difficult.
After finding space adroitly between the Villarreal defenders, the Frenchman arched his neck at the optimum angle in order to deflect his header onto the underside of the crossbar. Had Griezmann gotten too heavy a touch, he would’ve put his effort beyond the post whereas too light a contact would’ve scuppered the opportunity altogether.
Just after a quarter of an hour had passed, Arthur Melo got into the act himself and produced an absolute scorcher.
The Brazilian picked the ball 25 yards from goal and looked sideways for options. However, when none presented itself, he decided to pull the trigger. The ball rocketed off his boot and arrowed into the top corner to the keeper’s right.
On the stroke of half time, Cazorla smashed in a 25-yard stunner to provide competition to the aforementioned goals. The Spaniard, after some astute build-up play, found himself in space between the defence and midfield.
The midfielder took a couple of touches before unleashing a stupendous strike past ter Stegen.
The ball was struck so purely that it dipped and swerved at the final moment, thereby making life extremely difficult for the goalkeeper.
Thus, throughout the opening period, both teams tried their best to outdo the other in terms of the quality of goals scored.
And, while clear-cut chances were at a premium during the half, when they did come around, both sides ensured they didn’t disappoint.