Only three points separate leaders Atletico Madrid and fourth-placed Sevilla, with Real Madrid and Barcelona hanging in between. The Blaugrana, however, have a game in hand and could overtake Atletico if they win their outstanding match.
The weekend was also very good for Ronald Koeman’s side. While Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both dropped points, Barcelona took full advantage.
The Catalans have now moved level on points with Zinedine Zidane’s side after recording an important 2-1 win over Villarreal.
Antoine Griezmann double sinks Villarreal
The Estadio de la Ceramica has always been a daunting venue for every away side, but Barcelona came out unscathed against the Yellow Submarine, and they had Antoine Griezmann to thank for that.
Having fallen behind in the 26th minute to a goal from Samuel Chukwueze, a quick-fire double from Griezmann overturned the result and put Barcelona in the driving seat.
The Frenchman’s first goal was cheeky as he received a through pass from Oscar Mingueza before nicely lobbing the ball past the Villarreal goalkeeper.
Seven minutes later, the 30-year-old was again on hand to make it 2-1 in favor of Barcelona after intercepting a failed back pass to coolly slot home his 11th goal of the season.
How Messi helped to boost Antoine Griezmann’s confidence
Antoine Griezmann’s goals helped Barcelona beat Villarreal and it appears the Frenchman is gradually gaining his confidence back, which is in part thanks to Lionel Messi’s benevolence.
A week ago, the Argentine had scored twice against Getafe and was on a hat-trick when Barcelona won a penalty in the dying minutes of play. But rather than take the penalty, he offered it to Griezmann.
The Frenchman expertly scored as Barcelona won 5-2. This singular act may have highlighted Messi’s selflessness but it has also gone a long way to boost Antoine Griemann’s confidence, who has now scored in each of his last three matches.
"We all want to win LaLiga, There are four teams that are fighting and trying to win all our games. It won't be easy, but we have the team to do it,” Griezmann told Marca after Saturday’s win over Villarreal.
"[The title favourites] are always the ones who are top of the table. Atletico are having an incredible season and we're doing our best to be champions. We have it in our hands. We just have to win all our games."
Antoine Griezmann has obviously not been at his best since joining Barcelona and has particularly struggled for goals this season.
However, Messi’s gesture seems to have rebooted his confidence and that is exactly what Barcelona need as they aim to finish the season on a high.