LaLiga 2018-19: FC Barcelona 2-0 Villarreal CF - 5 Talking Points
Camp Nou hosted Villarreal on Sunday night having previously been held to a 1-1 draw at Wanda Metropolitano. With Atletico Madrid being held by Girona in a 1-1 draw, Barcelona had the chance to extend their lead over Los Colchoneros. They also had the opportunity to take the top spot in the table with Sevilla and Alaves set to play later in the night.
Villarreal, only just clear from the relegation zone, had the chance to move a bit higher with a win to 15th spot. History was certainly on the side of La Blaugrana. Villarreal had failed to defeat Barcelona in their previous 18 meetings prior to the game. Based on current form too, Villarreal couldn't hope for much, having failed to win their previous three away games before coming to the Camp Nou.
FC Barcelona started with the same starting 11 that they used against PSV midweek. Arthur, Suarez, and Umtiti were still unfit to compete. Villarreal lined up in what initially looked like a 4-2-3-1 formation. Fornals and Chukwueze on the flanks, Cazorla, Caceres and Trigueros in the middle and Gerard Moreno being the lone man up front.
Gerard Pique was the first person to get on the scoresheet. He scored from Ousmane Dembele's delivery into the box soon after the half-hour mark. Barcelona couldn't make any chances count till Lionel Messi's through ball sent Alena clear. The former Barca B captain beautifully chipped it over Asenjo to seal Barcelona's victory.
Here are five talking points from the game.
#5 Villarreal get some early chances but doesn't make Barcelona pay
In the first half, Barcelona hardly gave the ball away. Villarreal waited for their opportunity and managed to get Barcelona on the retreat on two to three occasions. But when they did, they did not make most of the opportunity. Gerard Moreno did hit the post but that was the only real threat made.
On other occasions, Villarreal players couldn't threaten Ter Stegen. They shot from outside the box either straight to the keeper or way off the target. In the second half, they tried to sustain possession but they simply couldn't find a way through. Their early chances were as close as they could get. But they did not capitalise.
In other words, Villarreal waited in the bushes like a sniper but the sniper had a very bad aim and intent.