Robert Lewandowski’s three-minute double helped Barcelona to secure a fourth consecutive La Liga win at Camp Nou as Barca thrashed a blunt-looking Villarreal 3-0.
A disappointing week for Barcelona that saw near elimination from the UEFA Champions League and a humbling 3-1 El Clásico defeat meant the pressure was increasing on Xavi to turn around the patchy run of form.
A fast start would have settled the nerves, and Ansu Fati’ nearly delivered, but his snapshot in the opening minutes flashed just wide of the post.
Villarreal had no sympathy for Barca’s mini-plight, as one win in five La Liga games meant issues had arisen in recent weeks for the Yellow Submarines.
Despite playing on the backfoot in the opening exchanges, Arnaut Danjuma nearly stunned the Camp Nou when he fired into the side netting from close range.
Barca soon turned on the style to ease any earlier tension, and Lewandowski struck a three-minute brace with a neat turn and finish in the area for his first before curling an unstoppable effort past Rulli from the edge of the area.
With a joint-league low of two goals scored on the road this season, any Villarreal comeback in the second half would have been verging on the miraculous, and Barcelona continued to control proceedings in the second period, repelling the visitor’s attacks with ease.
Raphinha nearly added to Villarreal’s woes in the closing stages, but the Barca substitute scuffed wide from six yards.
It was a purely dominant performance from Xavi’s Barcelona, capped expertly by a clinical Lewandowski performance, and the Catalan side are still unbeaten at home in five La Liga matches this season.
Despite the win, Barcelona remain behind Real Madrid with three points after the Los Blancos won on Wednesday against Elche 3-0.
Daniel Ademiju Idowu