Where was this vintage Barcelona side in the last few games? Finally, a wake-up call had come for the club to start delivering on the pitch, and they have begun to do it in the best possible fashion. Vintage Barcelona is back on track, going on full guns blazing with Messi holding up the strings.
Setien made a strong line up with giving Griezmann and Sergio Roberto in the starting line up, leaving Rakitic, Puig, and Ansu Fati on the bench.
FC Barcelona (4-3-3):
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Vidal;Messi, Suarez, Griezmann.
Villarreal CF (4-4-2):
Asenjo; Moreno, Pau Torres, Albiol, Mario Gasper; Santi Cazorla , Iborra , Anguissa;S.Chukwueze, Paco Alcácer, Gerard Moreno
BarcaTimes expected vs Actual Lineup:
First Half began well for Barcelona, where it took an early lead in the 3rd min with their initial attacking runs. Griezmann, who started the attacking up-front, showed his intent with his contribution for the first goal where Alba from the left flank firing a low cross towards him but unfortunately went for an own goal from the Villarreal defender, Pau Torres.
But Villarreal, as a strong home side, was not looking to give up so early. They came with a better response in the 14th min with a strong link-up play from ex-player Alcácer and Chukweze, with Cazorla setting up the goal with low cross saved by Ter Stegan where the ball went on to the path of Villarreal player Moreno making it 1-1.
It looked like a usual away game scenario for Barcelona, but Messi had some plans. He set up a beautiful assist (his 19th of the season so far.) to Suarez with a sublime trademark finish and celebration.
After the cooling break, Barcelona took a step forward to make a perfect statement in this must-win game with a 3rd goal, a sharp build-up play from Messi from the left side and a backheel for Griezmann with his 9th goal for the season in league with a beautiful chip goal finish in the closing stages of the first half.
GOAL 0 – 1 : Torres Own Goal – 3′
Barcelona got an early breakthrough from the start with Alba firing a cross to the near post and Griezmann making a run to get the first goal since the restart, but unfortunately, the Villarreal defender, Torres diverted the ball into his own net, making it 1-0.
Perfect start for Barcelona to get a early lead.
GOAL 1 – 1 : Moreno – 13′
On the other hand, Villarreal was not able to hold off the possession ball until Chukwueze sent Alcácer away in behind, but he can’t go all the way on his own and works it wide to the left. Cazorla arrives and fires a low ball back across goal that Ter Stegen can only parry into the path of Moreno, who fires into an empty net! It’s 1-1!
The game was on. Villarreal responded well with their play.
GOAL 1 – 2 : Suárez Stunner – 20′
Messi & Co knew that this was not an easy task and had to create more chances to have a firm grip on the match. Leo Messi picked up the ball from a deep position, held off his marker and proceeded to dance through a sea of yellow shirts with mesmerizing close control and impressive balance before sliding a perfectly-weighted pass to Suarez, who produced a sublime finish!
Beautiful trademark finish and celebrationsby Suarez, giving Barca a deserving lead up the front, making it 2-1.
GOAL GRIEZMANN!!! 1 – 3 : 45′
The time had come for Griezmann to make a mark in this match and break his goal-scoring jinx after the restart as he was making a far more profound impact on Barca’s pressure play and soon got his well-deserved goal, combining well with Messi with an inch-perfect back heel for No.17 and he finished it off with a cheeky chip goal!
Griezmann, with a superb finish giving his club a two-goal lead with his 9th goal of the season.
Barcelona was not looking to rest on a two-goal cushion coming in the second half. With their build-up possession and pressure play, they got their chance and another goal from Messi with an assist from Sergi Roberto, only to be disallowed by VAR.
But the search for a 4th goal came in 86th min of the game by a beautiful finish by Ansu Fati giving Barca a three-goal lead cushion.
Goal ANSU 1 – 4: 86′
Ansu Fati made it 4-1 for Barca with an impressive run in and finishing it off through the legs of Albiol shooting it towards the far post, wrong-footing Asenjo, and getting a well-deserved goal.
Ansu Fati and Puig, coming off the bench in the second half, combined well for the fourth goal well.
C. Bacca for Paco Alcácer – 36th min.
Bruno for Iborra – 46th min.
Moi Gómez for Gerard Moreno – 46th Min
Manu Trigueros for Santi Cazorla – 56 Min. Riqui Puig for Suárez – 60th Min Rakitić for Semedo – 60th Min Fer Niño for C. Bacca – 70th Min. Ansu Fati for Griezmann – 72th Min
Braithwaite for Busquets – 73rd Min
R. Araújo for Piqué – 82th Min
Real Madrid is now four points clear of FC Barcelona and Generally, the results for our immediate challenges since the restart have not been gone our way. Real Madrid and VAR are in great form; if they win all their remaining fixtures, it can close the chapter for us, any slip-ups will be a huge plus in the title race.
After a thumping win vs Villarreal, Barcelona has come back to winning ways for sure and will Real Madrid a tough at the end with a gap of 4 points and with only 4 games to go.
The games come thick and fast now up to the end of the season and there is a four-day gap before we entertain cross town rivals Espanyol at Nou Camp. That is a Thursday evening game, with kick-off at 8.15pm CET time.