Villarreal competed hard but couldn’t overcome a two goal deficit in the first fifteen minutes and fell to Barcelona, 2-1. Santi Cazorla scored our only goal with a screamer just before halftime, while Griezmann (off a corner) and Arthur, from outside the box, scored Barca’s goals.
IN our podcast Joseph suggested that going behind might actually be good for Villarreal, but I can’t think he was thinking about two goals in fifteen minutes. After that, the Submarine were always playing catchup, but were quite competitive the rest of the match.
Barca fans still have a lot of worries. This was not the dominant display they had hoped to see. Suarez was poor; but most of all there was a thigh injury to Leo Messi that forced him out after 45 minutes. Messi’s 32 now—he’s been amazingly resilient and hasn’t missed much time due to injuries, but one wonders—is time finally catching up with him?
Villarreal supporters can take heart from the effort, but for the first time all season we didn’t score multiple goals, and you’re never going to take much from the Camp Nou if you can only score once.
Starting Ontiveros and Samu both didn’t really work out; both seem better suited to come in off the bench. Taking off Gerard was a gamble that didn’t pay off, too. Overall, a much better performance than in this fixture last season, and if we can come up with a win against Betis on Friday, no one will worry too much. Will we finally see some rotations at centerback and defensive midfield, or will Funes Mori and Caceres still sit?
Best players: Pau Torres, Albiol, Santi Cazorla.