Match Report: Barcelona 3-0 Villarreal: Lethal Lewandowski inspirational as Xavi’s men bounce back

Robert Lewandowski scored twice against Villarreal

Barca lost their first clash with bitter rivals Real Madrid this season on Sunday, but they quickly shook off that defeat as Villarreal were swept aside on Thursday.

Three first-half goals in a seven-minute spell left the Yellow Submarine all at sea, 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 turnaround, 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 wonderful 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.

What does it mean? – Business as usual for Barca

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.

Lethal Lewandowski

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.

Anonymous Danjuma

If Villarreal were going to leave Camp Nou with a result, they would likely have needed their forwards to be lively.

However, the Yellow Submarine’s attackers struggled throughout. Arnaut Danjuma only managed one shot and 12 touches before his half-time withdrawal.

What’s next?

Barcelona welcome Ernesto Valverde – now in charge of Athletic Bilbao again – back to Camp Nou on Sunday, while Villarreal host Almeria the same day.

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