Robert Lewandowski scored two stunning goals as Barcelona beat Villarreal 3-0 at Camp Nou to bounce back from El Clasico disappointment.
Barça lost their first clash with bitter rivals Real Madrid on Sunday, but they got rid of that defeat quickly as Villarreal were swept away on Thursday.
Three first-half goals in seven minutes left the Yellow Submarine at sea, with Lewandowski scoring a pair of brilliant goals before Ansu Fati ensured the game was effectively over before halftime.
Villarreal never threatened any turnaround as Xavi’s team eased the pressure that had begun to build up after a run of one win in four games.
After a disappointing first half hour, a moment of magic resulted in the first goal with 31 minutes on the clock.
A fine pass from Pedri freed Jordi Alba, and his subsequent low cross found Lewandowski, whose first heel contact put three Villarreal players out of the game and secured an easy finish.
Moments later, Lewandowski hit from long range, spinning his 25-yard shot out of Geronimo Rulli’s reach.
There was a little more luck in Fati’s goal, although the ending was no less cool.
After a brilliant run by Ferran Torres and a cut, Fati should have played, but his failed attempt rebounded off the post and allowed him to heel over the line.
6 – Only against Mallorca (7) @Football Club Barcelona scored 3+ goals in the first half more often than against Villarreal in @LaLigaRU in the 21st century (6, the same number as Atlético de Madrid). Redeem. pic.twitter.com/bTMdJJrLhm
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 20, 2022
Chances largely dried up in the second half without incident, although Rafinha should have made it 4-0 with Ousmane Dembele’s pass from close range.
However, the Brazilian’s miss was ultimately not counted as Barça had a comfortable second half.
What does it mean? – A common thing for Barça.
October was a tough month for Xavi and Barça, who picked up just one point from their two Champions League fixtures against Inter before being defeated 3-1 in Clasico.
This spell even led to talk about Xavi’s future, with the coach admitting that he won’t stay in his job for long if the Blaugrana doesn’t succeed.
However, they handled Villarreal with ease, which is impressive considering Unai Emery’s side have only conceded three times in their previous seven games in all competitions.
Three shots, three shots on target, two goals, that’s pretty effective. However, this description probably does not fit Lewandowski. The Poland striker’s brace in the first half was sensational and perfectly demonstrated the range of his abilities.
If Villarreal were going to leave the Camp Nou with a result, they would probably need to keep their strikers active.
However, the attackers of the Yellow Submarine fought everywhere. Arnaut Danjuma only managed one shot and 12 touches before he retired at half-time.
Barcelona welcome Ernesto Valverde, now back in charge of Athletic Bilbao, returns to Camp Nou on Sunday and Villarreal host Almeria the same day.