Barcelona 3 (Lewandowski 2, Fati), Villarreal 0 at halftime.
Damage done before the half. Barcelona put on a strong performance as they started to partly recover from their weekend setback. A game that appeared to be in the balance early on was basically ended by three goals in less than 10 first-half minutes. Villarreal lost numerous clear chances to score due to their carelessness in the final third, and the first 45 minutes saw a pretty shaky Barça defense. Robert Lewandowski’s two spectacular goals placed Los Azulgranas comfortably in control at the opposite end, and as Ansu Fati added a third, there was never going to be any debate about the conclusion.
Villarreal didn’t significantly threaten Marc Andre Ter Stegen’s goal until stoppage time of the second half, which was a less exciting game. In the second half, Xavi’s defense played more tightly, which should have given him more confidence going into another challenging stretch of games.
Not easy to argue. In midfield tonight, De Jong was in excellent form.
Barcelona can teach us a lot about effectiveness. The home team has been aggressive going forward, with Alba and Fati looking dangerous down the left and De Jong and Gavi setting the tone in midfield. But if nothing extraordinary happens in the second half, Lewandowski will be the talk of the town owing to two outstanding goals. Villarreal has been eliminated after scoring three goals in less than 10 minutes. The team will be furious with itself for missing some good opportunities. They haven’t put Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to the test yet, but that’s been due to a terrible final ball, a mistake, or poor judgment. It appears that they are now too late to save anything.
Fati didn’t exactly execute a world-class finish there, but he still managed to score (told you!). Ferran Torres finishes De Jong’s offensive drive by throwing Mojica to the ground and then crossing for Fati, who pushes the ball in at the second try after originally hitting the post.
Alexia Putellas being present is better news for Barcelona 20 10 5 4 2 1! She has also brought this second Balon d’Or prize with her. Though she’s anticipated to be sidelined until May of next year, let’s hope she returns to action as soon as possible.
As was mentioned at the news conference yesterday before the game, Xavi is aware of the pressure on him.
For Barcelona, there is no such thing as a transition year. We must pursue titles. There will be repercussions if we don’t, and I might be one of them. I don’t want to search for justifications.
Check out what my colleague Joe Brennan wrote to learn more about this and what else Xavi had to say.
Vacarra – 2022–2023 La Liga thus far
Villarreal started off the LaLiga season strong, winning three and drawing one of their first four games without giving up a goal.
However, after a loss against Real Betis, they went three more games without a victory, a run they ended by defeating Osasuna at the weekend. If they win tonight, they can catch Athletic Club in sixth place in terms of points with one more victory.
However, they have been in very strong form in the Europa Conference League, winning each of their six games.
Buenos Aires, 2022–2023 La Liga thus far
Only one league loss has been experienced by Xavi Hernández’s team this year. However, that league loss came in the midst of a titanic fight to advance from a Champions League group (which doesn’t look promising), and it came against Real Madrid, the club’s bitter rivals. Additionally, despite leading the league heading into the El Clásico, Barça is currently six points behind Madrid following their loss at the Bernabéu and their 3-0 win over Elche last night.
Barça scored a ton of goals in a lenient campaign start, but they have stumbled a little bit after facing tougher competition. They must quickly recover, though, in order to prevent slipping too far behind Madrid.