- Barcelona hosted Villarreal in a La Liga clash at Camp Nou on Thursday night
- Barcelona wanted a bounce back after last weekend’s El Classico loss at the hands of Real Madrid
- Robert Lewandowski was on target twice to ensure all the three points remained at Camp Nou
Barcelona bounced back from last weekend’s El Classico disappointment with an impressive 3-0 win over Villarreal in a La Liga clash with Lewandowski on the score sheet again.
Barcelona lost their first clash this season with bitter rivals Real Madrid on Sunday, but they quickly shook off that defeat as Villarreal were thrashed on Thursday.
Three first-half goals in a seven-minute spell left the Yellow Submarine at the shadows, with Lewandowski netting a couple of brilliant efforts before Ansu Fati ensured it was essentially game over before the break.
Villarreal never threatened any kind of a comeback, as Xavi’s side eased the pressure that had started to build following a run of just one win in four games.
After a frustrating opening half-hour, a moment of magic brought about the first goal with 31 minutes on the clock.
Pedri’s brilliant pass released Jordi Alba and his subsequent low cross found Lewandowski, whose backheeled first touch took three Villarreal players out of the game and set up a simple finish.
A few moments later, Lewandowski did the damage from further out, curling his 25-yard effort beyond Geronimo Rulli’s reach.
There was a bit more fortune about Fati’s goal, though the finish was no less classy.
After a brilliant Ferran Torres run and cut-back, Fati should have tapped in, but his scuffed attempt came back off the post and allowed him to backheel over the line.
Chances largely dried up in an uneventful second half, though Raphinha should have made it 4-0 when guiding Ousmane Dembele’s cross wide from close range.
The Brazilian’s miss ultimately counted for nought, however, as Barca saw the second half out comfortably.
October has been a chastening month for Xavi and Barca, who took just one point from two Champions League clashes with Inter before suffering a 3-1 defeat in the Clasico.
That spell even led to talk about Xavi’s future, with the coach acknowledging he will not keep his job for long if the Blaugrana are not successful.
However, they made light work of Villarreal, and impressively so given Unai Emery’s side had only conceded three times in their previous seven games across all competitions.
Three shots, three shots on target, two goals – that is pretty efficient. That description probably fails to do Lewandowski justice, however. The Poland striker’s first-half brace was sensational and showcased his range of abilities wonderfully.
If Villarreal were going to leave Camp Nou with a result, they would likely have needed their forwards to be lively.
However, the visitors’ attackers struggled throughout. Arnaut Danjuma only managed one shot and 12 touches before his half-time withdrawal.
Both teams will be in La Liga actions during the weekend with Barcelona hosting Ernesto Valverde – now in charge of Athletic Bilbao again – back to Camp Nou on Sunday, while Villarreal host Almeria the same day.