Score, Player Ratings And What We Learned

FC Barcelona opened up an 11 point gap at the top of La Liga by beating Villarreal 1-0 away on Sunday night. Here’s the score, the player ratings, and what we learned.

Villarreal 0 – 1 FC Barcelona

Pedri, 18

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

Closed the angle for Jose Luis Morales’ late first half shot. But as seen against Sevilla, didn’t have a lot to do due to how well his back line generally operates. 7

Alejandro Balde

Played a bad ball across the box in the first half but was strong in the tackle. Started the second half with a lovely slalom dribble in Villarreal’s area. Not as impressive as Jordi Alba last week but still steady. 7

Andreas Christensen

Solid from the Dane as always. Seemed like he had no real big moments to speak of, but was always in the right place at the right time to snuff out any potential danger as seen with a stoppage time block from a menacing pass near his 18-yard box. 7

Ronald Araujo

Called ‘unbeatable’ by the Movistar commentary team when tracking back to snuff out a Yeremy Pino move and clear danger inside 10 minutes. Picked up a yellow card for a soft hand ball, and will miss the next match. But any credit he lost for that was redeemed with another excellent clearance to prevent Pino from scoring around the hour mark. He had the Spain international’s number all night. 9

Jules Kounde

Made a meal of a clearance which played Jose Luis Morales in approaching half time, though Pedri’s pass wasn’t the best. Blocked a dangerous cross midway through the second half and another at the death. 7

Frenkie de Jong

Started with a quiet opening 20 minutes then gradually took over the game. Began the move that led to Pedri’s goal and also set Lewandowski up with a lovely scooped chip. His six interceptions and strong tackles meant he provided Barca’s physical heartbeat and didn’t just dictate the pace with his playmaking. Created the most chances in the first half and completed all of his dribbles. 9 – MAN OF THE MATCH

Franck Kessie

It was hard for him to get going creatively due to how much he was on the receiving end of Villarreal rough stuff, with members of the opposition often pretending he had fouled them. Sometimes it was easy to forget he was on the pitch and was better against Sevilla, but had a less attacking role here. 6


Started excellently with a delicious through ball for Lewandowski and only got better. Another bullet of a cross from the right wing connected with Andreas Christensen but wasn’t enough to threaten goal. On 17 minutes, he finished an excellent move with a 1-2 with Lewandowski and put Barca ahead. Set Raphinha free later in the first half but the Brazilian couldn’t take advantage. A minor blip was a poor pass for Kounde that the Frenchman failed to meet, which played Jose Luis Morales in on the stroke of half time. Quieter in the second half but his opening 45 was more than enough to be talked about. 9


Played more central in the early parts of the game and was scolded by Xavi for an inaccurate ball to the wing when trying to set Lewandowski off. Had a tough evening being manhandled but as always, never gave in. Started to be more involved with around an hour of a quarter to play with better distribution. 7

Robert Lewandowski

Another mixed bag from Pole. Missed a chance through on goal from a delightful Pedri pass early doors and hit it straight at Pep Reina. Provided an assist for Pedri with a lovely 1-2 move but then missed another chance after a lovely Frenkie chip which wasn’t the easiest. Raphinha should have done better with his pass in the second half. 7


Was able to come more central due to Kounde occupying the right. Like Gavi, his distribution out to the wings was a little top heavy. Though he was important in the build-up to Pedri’s goal, he failed to take advantage of two peach passes from Pedri and Lewandowski. Was Xavi’s first substitution for Ferran Torres with 10 minutes to spare and went off to a yellow card; the coach seemed happy with him, though. 6

What we learned:

Barca are now 11 points clear after refusing to be bullied by a tough opponent and squeaking out another win on the road to remain unbeaten in 16 matches.

The likes of Pedri, Ronald Araujo, and Frenkie de Jong showed themselves to be big game players once more and untouchable in the starting XI. But there were a lot of less busy but still solid performances across the team hence the abundance of ‘7’ marks.

Some stars on the fringes such as Frenck Kessie and Raphinha failed to take the chance to impress, but are not under threat for now due to injuries to Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele.

Barca were good, but they might have to be better against Manchester United on Thursday in the Europa League.