Barcelona 3-0 Villarreal: Player Ratings
Barcelona beat an impressive Villarreal side 3-0 in a thrilling match at Camp Nou and moved to the top of the league table while Villarreal remain fifth. With all the three goals coming through the complete domination of Barcelona in the second half thanks to the unstoppable duo of Neymar Jr. (who scored two goals) and Luis Suarez (one goal), the first half saw Barcelona leading in terms of possession for long spells and Villarreal in terms of opportunities and disciplined defence.
It was Barcelona who had the upper hand during most of the match but Villarreal fought well- particularly in the first half. The Yellow Submarine were well organized and showed Barcelona why they’re one of the most difficult teams to face in La Liga but by the end of the second half, after being completely dominated, they didn’t have any positives to take away.
Barcelona’s breakthrough came through a glorious pass by Busquets to Neymar who finished it into the bottom corner. The second was a penalty taken by Luis Suarez after Jaume Costa knocked over Munir inside the box. The third goal by Neymar, however, was a work of art and the cherry on top. The Brazilian flicked the ball over a defender before he buried the shot into the net.
Here are the player ratings from the game (out of 10):
Claudio Bravo - 8
Bravo made a great save at the near post a few seconds before the half time whistle was blown to deny Samu Castillejo the opening goal of the match. A lot of skill was also seen from him when his footwork saw Soldado clutching thin air unable to get a hold of him or the ball.
Gerard Pique – 7
Gerard Pique had his excellent moments in the match. However, he brought himself a yellow for bringing down Denis Suarez on the edge of the box. He was later subbed off for Marc Bartra.
Jeremy Mathieu - 5
Mathieu received the first of the plenty yellows of the match for a clumsy late challenge on Soldado. He also attempted a shot at goal but had his attempt saved well by Areola. He needs to improve on dealing with counter attacks and had a few mess ups.
Jordi Alba - 7
Alba was great, as usual. With him coming out to score a goal, his few chances were stopped by Areola. It was more like banter when Neymar crossed so that Alba could score a header. There was hard work as usual in addition to the goal in this game.
Sergio Busquets – 9
Continuing to astonish everyone, one of the best performers of the match was Sergio Busquets who played a critical role in the first goal with a magical pass to Neymar who netted the ball in. Busquets’ intelligent positioning in the lead up ensured that he made an interception and got the ball. With that performance, he showed why he’s a one-of-a-kind player.
Andres Iniesta - 9
Just like Busquets, Iniesta was one of the best performers of the match. Playing like he’s 24, Iniesta showed great footwork and gave the crowd what they came to see. Getting very harshly booked for dissent was the only negative, but he showed well enough throughout the game with his incredible passes that age means nothing when there’s class.
Sergi Roberto – 8
He was brilliant in his passing and positioning. He, however, needs to improve his shooting. Could have scored late on but overall was very impressive. He was an example today of what confidence can do to a player. His level has risen sharply, he’s more complete in all respects, and this season it has continued to pay for him.
Neymar – 9
Neymar had an excellent match with two goals. The first was through a beautiful pass by Busquets which was netted by him and the third goal which was the best of the lot was a cross from Suarez which was taken by Neymar who then flicked the ball over the lone defender near him and finished it into the back of the net. It was his 11th goal of the season, taking him to the top as leading goal-scorer of the league.
Luis Suarez - 8
It was another fantastic performance by Luis Suarez. Contributing with one goal and one assist, Suarez helped his team, yet again, to victory. Suarez took the penalty after Costa was booked for a lunge on Munir inside the box, after which Suarez converted from the spot taking Barcelona two goals up. Suarez was also booked along with Neymar for dissent.
Munir - 7
Munir received a standing ovation when he was subbed off, indicating his good performance. He was composed in attack and also offered great defensive presence. He had an average first half but really improved in the second half.
Marc Bartra – N/A
Bartra replaced Gerard Pique for the last ten minutes of the game and Barcelona hardly had any defending to do in this period.
Sandro Ramirez - 6
He was the first substitution for Barcelona when he replaced Munir and played for 14 minutes. He could have played those few minutes slightly better but did not make any major errors and worked hard.