Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi helped Barcelona secure all three points at the Estadio de la Ceramica against a tough Villarreal CF side.
Villarreal certainly didn’t make it easy on Valverde’s men. They required a whole 73 minutes and a red card to Rabaseda to finally get past Asenjo. Ter Stegen was the busier of the 2 keepers, despite the fact that Barcelona had a lot more possession.
As things stand, Barcelona’s victory helped them restore their 5 point lead at the top of the table over second placed Valencia. Villarreal on the other hand are still in 6th place, now 11 points away from the UEFA Champions League spots.
Marc Andre Ter Stegen: 8
Called upon on five occasions and made no mistake. A few really tested him and he was always up to the task, making some superb reaction saves to keep another clean sheet. Very good performance from the German international.
Sergi Roberto: 7
A good night for the Spaniard. He had the more busier flank but nonetheless, he stepped up to the task and even looked to contribute going forward. Made a good number of tackles and completed 4 take ons, only behind Lionel Messi and distributed intelligently and pretty accurately for the most part.
Gerard Pique: 7
Pique was unlucky to not open the scoring for his side. Did his job well and wasn’t troubled too much by whatever was asked of him.
Thomas Vermaelen: 7
Yet another good performance from the Belgian. Recovered possession, put in a fair few tackles, was also good in the air and distributed well. A very cool composed and resolute performance. Is currently in the best form of his Barcelona career and another good performance will do wonders for his confidence.
Jordi Alba: 7
Had a very good game at left-back. Recovered possession well for his side, put in a number of crosses, created a fair few chances for his teammates and was his side’s most prolific passer. Was barely troubled on the left wing and when he was, handled it easily.
Ivan Rakitic: 6
Played out on the right once again, and still looked uncomfortable. He did put in a good shift, he worked hard and tried to contribute while going forward and defending as well but couldn’t involve himself in either goal. However, he’s better off as a central midfielder.
Sergio Busquets: 8
Kept his side ticking, ran the show from midfield. Got Rabaseda sent off and also provided Messi with a superb through ball for Barcelona’s second. Was intelligent in his passing, but was booked in the end. The only blemish on a faultless performance.
Didn’t have too much to do defensively but couldn’t offer too much going forward. Helped retain the ball and put in a typically industrious shift, breaking up attacks and ensuring possession stayed with his side as much as possible. Taken off for Aleix Vidal in the 58th minute as Barcelona chased a goal.
Denis Suarez: 5
Couldn’t build on his performance against Sporting CP on the night. Afforded a place in the starting eleven due to Andres Iniesta being injured. Failed to contribute too much going forward and was hauled off in the 58th minute by Ernesto Valverde.
Lionel Messi: 8
Scored his side’s second goal to put the game to bed. Was alert to the situation and kept his composure to finish well, not that we’d expect anything less especially given the form he’s in. Played a part in setting up the first goal as well. Terrorized the Villarreal players with his take ons, and overall it was a good performance from the Argentine.
Luis Suarez: 8
Scored in his second consecutive Liga appearance, fans will certainly hope that it leads to a long goalscoring streak. It was only his 7th of the season and it was a superbly taken strike, vintage Suarez. It was a deserved goal as well, as the Uruguayan worked hard and had to stay calm for large portions as the game.
He didn’t let frustration get to him and stayed alert and gave his team the breakthrough when they needed it the most.
Paco Alcacer: 8
Came on in the 58th minute for Denis Suarez and added another dimension to Barcelona’s attack. Played close to the striker and assisted Suarez’s goal after some superb one-touch passing. Currently in great form, that was his third assist of the season. Surely deserves an opportunity to start.