Lionel Messi’s La Liga start lasted only until half-time but Barcelona were still able to see off Villarreal with a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
The Argentine set up the opener for Antoine Griezmann with a corner in the sixth minute before Arthur doubled the advantage with fine strike 10 minutes later.
Santi Cazorla produced a stunning effort of his own just before the break but the Catalans were able to hold on for the three points in the second half.
Here, we rate Barcelona’s players.
STARTING XI (4-3-3)
Ter Stegen 5 – Could’ve done better to deny Cazorla but was fairly solid otherwise.
Semedo 6 – Good in defence and carried the ball down the flank well. Final ball was lacking.
Pique 6 – Cleared his lines well and helped his side build play with his passing out of defence.
Lenglet 6 – Went about his business quietly and efficiently. Complemented the more proactive Pique.
Firpo 5 – Good in one-on-one duels but didn’t offer much going forward.
Busquets 6 – Shielded the back four well with his clever positioning and recycled possession expertly.
Roberto 5 – Offered little in defence or attack. Another bland performance.
Arthur 7 – Scored a fantastic goal, worked hard to recover possession and impressed with his passing in midfield.
Messi 7 – Pulled the strings in the final third and delivered the corner for Griezmann to make the breakthrough. Replaced at half-time due to injury.
Suarez 4 – Squandered a couple of decent chances and was largely a passenger.
Griezmann 7 – Apart from his goal, the Frenchman looked sharp as he linked play well with Messi, Suarez and Fati.
Dembele (45′) 7 – Replaced Messi at the break and was a live wire down the right. Unlucky not to bag an assist.
De Jong (62′) 6 – Gave Barcelona greater control in the middle of the park after coming on for Roberto.
Fati (77′) 8 – Continued to show what an extraordinary talent he is with an exciting cameo during which he could easily have scored and assisted. Even had a decent shout for a penalty.
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