Barcelona played their first match of the new season on 27th September against Villarreal. It was their opening game for La Liga 2020/21 and they were starting their campaign at their home ground i.e. Camp Nou. Before them, Atletico Madrid started their campaign with a win against Granada where their former player Luis Suarez made an excellent debut. Now, it was time for Barcelona to make the same impact. The game was also special because it was Koeman’s first league game since he became the manager. Consequently, he did not take the game lightly and set up his best starting 11. For Barcelona, the lineup was Neto, Alba, Pique, Lenglet, Roberto, Coutinho, Busquets, De Jong, Messi, Griezmann, and Ansu Fati. The Dutch coach went with the classic formation of 4-3-3, however, during the game, Coutinho was mostly seen playing as an attacking midfielder.
Match Sumarry: FC Barcelona vs Villarreal:
The match started and Barcelona were playing quite aggressive as they were pressing a lot and trying to maintain possession. However, in the 3rd minute, Villarreal had a great chance which was intercepted smartly by Busquets. Even then, the Catalans did not take any pressure and kept playing their game. In the 15th minute, they got their breakthrough as Jordi Alba took an excellent run and passed the ball to Ansu Fati who immediately scored a goal with a brilliant touch. Just 4 minutes later, Fati scored his second goal of the match as Coutinho took a run from the center of the midfield and passed the balled to Fati who was on his left. Fati put the ball past the goalkeeper right into the net to score his second goal.
After that, it felt like Villarreal had lost all hopes and were leaving huge gaps and as a result, the Blaugranas were creating chances again and again. In the 34th minute, Fati dribbled past the defender inside the box but was fouled. As a result, the referee awarded Barcelona a penalty. Ansu immediately gave the ball to Messi who converted the spot-kick to score in his 17th La Liga season consecutively. However, that was not it. In the 45th minute, Messi tried to assist a pass to Busquets who was inside the box. Pau Torres intercepted that shot but hit the ball directly into the goal. With that, Barcelona had scored 4 goals at just halftime.
Everyone thought that in the second half Barcelona would score more goals but that was not the case. However, the Barcelona fans had already started celebrating the 4 goals and the soon to come victory with fireworks. Throughout the entire second half, the fans were using fireworks. Even though Barcelona created many chances in the second half also, they were not able to convert any of them. But, the special thing to notice from the second half was that Pedri, Trincao, and former Juventus man Pjanic made their debut for the team. We even got to see Ousmane Dembele being subbed in for Ansu Fati as the Frenchman has recovered from his hamstring injury now. With that, the Catalans won the match with a score of 4-0.
17 – Lionel Messi has become the fourth player in LaLiga history to score in 17 consecutive seasons, after Agustín ‘Piru’ Gaínza (19), Carlos Alonso, ‘Santillana’ (17) and Sergio Ramos (17). Infallible. pic.twitter.com/IBZyvC0RGZ
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 27, 2020
Some points to learn from the match against Villarreal:
In the match, we saw Ansu Fati play brilliantly as he proved his worth to the team. He also linked up with Jordi Alba excellently to create and convert the balls. We also saw Coutinho and Pique play exceptionally well in the first match of the season. Even though this was just the first match, fans were quite happy with the gameplay of the team. The Catalans played aggressively and pressed on their opponents all the time. The defense also did a great job but there were still some spaces that need to be taken care of. Anyhow, we hope that Barcelona keep up the good work and can get many more wins ahead just like this one.