La Liga 18/19: Villareal 4-4 Barcelona - 5 talking points from the match
Having thrown away a two-goal lead to lose away to Celta Vigo over the last weekend in a relegation six-pointer, the Yellow Submarines were eager to make up for that but saw lightning strike twice in the space of four days as they once again let a two-goal lead slip in the final minute against the Blaugrana.
The hosts had themselves performed creditably well to claw their way back from a two-goal deficit early on to take the lead but will be cursing themselves for letting their guard down in the final few minutes.
The stalemate takes Villareal two point clear of the relegation zone, although they have played a game more than Celta Vigo who lie in 18th place and take on bottom-placed Huesca later today.
For their part, Barcelona saw their lead at the top of the table reduced to eight points ahead of the mega-showdown with Atletico Madrid this weekend. In this piece, we shall be highlighting five talking points from the memorable La Liga fixture.
#5 Valverde almost pays the price for rotation
Barcelona's solid performance this term means they are one of four clubs still in the running to win a treble this season.
This means that unlike a lot of other clubs, Barca still have their focus on multiple fronts, with each competition still taking priority in the eyes of Ernesto Valverde.
It is no hidden secret that as we approach the home run of the season, the potential for injuries increases as the nine-month arduous journey of a football season begins to take a toll on player's bodies.
As such, it is usually advisable for coaches to rotate players in a bid to maintain freshness and continue their quest for success.
It is in keeping with this template that Valverde approached this match, naming a weakened starting lineup which saw the exclusion of sure first team starters like Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, and Ivan Rakitic.
This is in no way taking anything away from the players who started, as they are all quality footballers in their own right, but the Villareal players must have sensed more opportunity than would have been the case had Valverde fielded his strongest eleven.
As it happened, the resting of Messi and co gave the hosts the impetus to go all out against Barcelona and they almost got all three points until the introduction of the big gun himself from the bench.
Valverde's inspired substitutions helped turn the tide back in Barcelona's favor, but it very well could have tuned out differently.