Fc Barcelona win the much-needed three points from this game against Villarreal that help them retain their position and instill some much-needed soul and confidence back into the team and fans.
Comfortably gaining the three points, La Blaugrana drifted past the Yellow Submarine of Villarreal and retained their position in second behind league leaders Real Madrid, with their points tally now being 25 out of a total possible of 30 points.
Complete and utter control was with the Catalan team from start to finish, whether that be
through ball retention, smooth passing between the lines, or simply chance creation;
Barcelona had it all under wraps. Barely allowing the Villarreal attackers to find any cohesion, there is much credit due to the quality of Kounde, Frenkie De Jong, and Lewandowski in this game.
The reintroduction of Jules Kounde into this Barcelona team has reignited confidence and
composure amongst the backline, the Frenchman’s speed, reading of the game, and talent on the ball were all crucial in ensuring the opposition was allowed little to no say in the game’s proceedings.
Simultaneously, it was thanks to the first two creatively classy goals that Barcelona found their groove and cemented it. Both finished off by Lewandowski, and while the first was a brilliant take by him, it was the second goal that merits complete applause for his quality.
The opening goal, on the other hand, was a grand showcase of just how talented Pedri is and the sublime range of passing he possesses. Opening up Villarreal’s backline with a defense-splitting pass, the goal was trademark Barca from start to finish. On to Jordi Alba, who caressed it right into the path of a running Lewandowski, with the latter cooling cutting it back instead of hurrying the shot, and slotting away the setup he made for himself.
A key detail to assess during this game was the reported midfield that Xavi was possibly going to opt for. A midfield consisting of Pedri, Gavi, and Frenkie De Jong, with the latter having been reported to take Sergio Busquets’s place during this game.
And it’s safe to say that the experimentation worked wonders. De Jong in particular consistently showcased his innate ability to process more information regarding his surroundings than any other individual around him, allowing him to glide past opponents and pick out the best passing options with relative ease.
Moreover, his synergy seemed to match perfectly with Pedri’s rather reserved but pinpoint qualities and Gavi’s evidently tenacious attributes, encompassing a midfield trio that seemed ready to press when needed, as well as combine as a unit offensively when on the break or in possession. De Jong also received an ovation from the Camp Nou as he was substituted, showcasing the positive sentiments regarding his performance were shared by the fans.
Other key takeaways from this game revolve around the winger dilemma. In this particular
performance, Ferran Torres proved he’s a more than viable option for Xavi when deployed on the right wing position, as now even if his finishing does not situate itself as being dependable, there are still his creative abilities to take advantage of.
The third goal in particular that was finished by Ansu Fati was created thanks to the dribbling prowess and positional awareness shown by Torres, and will surely give Xavi a positive headache when it comes to choosing his preferred wingers on the flanks come the next match day.
On the other hand, it does have to be mentioned that Villarreal were missing some very key players heading into this game. Gerard Moreno, Juan Foyth, and Etienne Capoue were all losses for the team in yellow and were possibly a major factor in their rather lackluster
performance at the Camp Nou tonight.
This win ensures that Barcelona head into the game against Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Bilbao with their heads held high and brimming with more confidence than they came into this clash against Villarreal. A win against the upcoming Bilbao team would certainly do the Catalan club a world of good as they progress toward the second half of the 2022/2023 season.