December 1, 2022


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Villarreal: the best and the worst according to ›

What were the best and worst aspects of today’s match against Villarreal at the Camp Nou according to the editors of

Best: Changes to the starting line-up

recovery response. With Busquets, Ravenha and Dembele’s squad failing in the most important matches, the Barcelona coach made the decision to put Frenkie de Jong as a defensive midfielder with Fati and Ferran on the wings. This resulted in a more efficient and interoperable game. De Jong played a very good game, fueling the hosts’ movement, noting accurate crossovers and successful versions of pressure. Ansu scored and Ferran showed a decisive pass, smartly beating Villarreal players in the penalty area. The new players gave the coach a clear signal that he should take them into account when choosing his team, and not cling to his iron team. Xavi may not be afraid to sit on the bench in the upcoming matches, which at the moment does not bring enough quality to the team.

Worst: Villarreal did not set any conditions

Compared to the matches against Inter and Real Madrid, the class difference was noticeable today over the opponents of Barcelona. Emery’s players showed nothing practical and only until they lost the first goal could they in any way threaten Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal. Despite Barcelona’s high defense line, after the knockout in the form of three goals, the visitors were unable to exchange several passes in the opponent’s half, and referee Pau Torres showed the first and only yellow card in the 90th minute. This shows how little aggressiveness was in the match by Villarreal’s players, who only hit one shot at Barcelona’s goal. The victory is good, but we cannot treat an easy victory over an opponent playing clumsily as a determinant of the Blaugrana’s form, especially since Xavi’s team did not have to struggle with a formidable defense that ends 30 meters from the goal. The opponent played fairly open football. Ironically, meeting an opponent who did not set any conditions could cause Barcelona’s failure and the lack of a single player, and some of Xavi’s decisions are still incomprehensible, like this, to keep Pedri and Jaffe on the field until the final whistle.

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