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Xavi post-match comments:
The crazy game was our fault.
We went two up and started to make too many mistakes.
We changed things at half time and they got the third goal from a counter; from then on, we were great.
I think the scoreline wasn't enough for us, we deserved more.
Ansu had chances to score a few clear chances; Eric García was good, so was Gavi.
The changes were key to get the three points.
Yamal is a goal scorer, he helped us a lot.
We have to dominate for 90 minutes, but it's hard against such good teams.
I don't have any qualms about putting in a new player who works hard, who is intelligent and talented: Fermín is one of them. I don't want [young players] to be scared.
Christensen has a bit of an injury, he wasn't comfortable.
Where are Villarreal in the league?
Villarreal, for their part, continue their somewhat slow start to the season and sit in the middle of the table, in 13th.
Their next game is against Cádiz, who are 9th with one win, one draw and one loss after 3 games.
Barcelona move into the top 3
The Catalan side, with that win, move level on points with Girona, in second, just two behind league leaders, Real Madrid.
The away side dominated the numbers
Barça had more possession, shots, shots on target, xG and, most importantly, more goals.
The stats certainly tell a story…
Xavi's side dominated in terms of chances created, but the Villarreal threat was always there.
Barcelona keep up their impressive record away at Villarreal.
Where do I begin with that?
After a crazy first half, you could be forgiven for thinking that the game would slow down in the second half, with both managers trying to get a grip on things.
But the storm never passed and the madness continued.
The 2-2 scoreline at half time came from two quick-fire Barça goals from Gavi and then De Jong, who scored on the counter when they found time and space amidst Villarreal's incessant pressure on their goal.
However, Barça's efforts were quickly cancelled out by the home team who continued to press like crazy all over the pitch.
First came Foyth's header before Sørloth tapped in following Gerard Moreno's potential pass of the season.
Villarreal went ahead with Baena before the equaliser came 15 minutes later from Ferran, a Barça sub and one of the changes who completely flipped the script.
Minutes later Lewandowski tapped home following Lamine Yamal's strike that hit the post and the Catalan side managed to ride out late pressure to seal the win and get the three points.
Ferran Torres post-game:
We could have been 2-0 down but we went 2-0 up.
Then we started to play our game, and the goals came.
I have worked hard, I'm happy with how I'm doing things. The invisible work isn't seen very often.
I take advantage of the games I play in; the manager chooses the team.
I dedicate the goal to my family and the fans.
Yamal wins MVP
The youngster was the difference for Barça and provided plenty of moments that helped the Catalan side get hold of a tough tie.
Barcelona escape with a victory against Villarreal in what might end up being the game of the season!
The ball goes back into the box and Barcelona are against thr ropes.
Comesaña goes down in the box… the referee says no!
Villarreal have a free-kick from halfway that they are going to lump into the box…
Ben Brereton Díaz tries his luck from distance but the shot skews a few yards wide of the goal and Barça will take their time with this one.
JÖRGENSEN WITH ANOTHER SAVE!
This time it's Fermín who sees his long-range effort stopped at the bottom corner of the goal.
Villarreal are pushing hard for a late chance on goal…
6 added minutes
Lewandowski was 1vs1 with the goalkeeper who saved his powerful shot from just a few yards out!!!
Ferran had played the striker in after a great counter attack; Lewandowski had a chance to play it square to Ansu but chose to go alone.
WHAT A SAVE FROM JÖRGENSEN!!!!!
We're into the final minute…
SØRLOTH MISSES A HUGE CHANCE!
Luckily for him, the linesman called offside. But that was huge, and the player was on his own in front of goal as the ball was whipped in from the left.
Ferran is brought down in the box after being pushed from behind but the referee decides that it's not enough to warrant a penalty.
Fermín López ON
Brereton Díaz ON
The pass from Gundogan was delightful and swung around the Villarreal defence.
Ansu tried to hit the volley but a fan caught the wayward shot that went high and wide.
ANSU HITS A SHOT OVER THE BAR
And now Barça are going the other way!
Villarreal counter as the spaces suddenly open up…
Barça break with Roberto after they win the ball back from a poor Villarreal attack in which they look more rushed than stodgy.
Fortunately for the home side, the counter is poorly executed and the defence get back well.
Eric García is booked for a foul on Sørloth.
That's five yellow cards today.
Dénis Suárez tries to play a pass through the midfield line and behind the Barça defence, but Koundé cuts it out well.
Ten minutes to go… can Villarreal find a late goal?
Gabbia is booked for a tactical push on Ansu Fati, who clearly has instructions to get in behind the centre-backs.
Villarreal survive after Barça break at speed with Ferran and Ansu, but the communication is poor and neither player can decide what to do, allowing Setién's team to get back and defend.
Álex Baena OFF
What a game from the young winger, who gets a huge applause from the travelling Barça fans, as well as some home supporters.
Ansu Fati ON
Yamal, after a delightful dummy of the ball, is brought down by Pedraza.
Fifteen minutes to go…
We're going again and Barcelona want more goals.
What a game of football!
It will be interesting to see how Villarreal reactwithoutGerard on the pitch, who is always a huge threat going forward.
Yamal goes on a mazy run after Barça win the ball back from kick off.
He skips inside and hits the post with a low effort that lands in front of goal, where Lewandowski is waiting to tap in from close range.
As simple as you like.
BANG. JUST LIKE THAT.
LEWANDOWSKI SCORES FOR BARCELONA
Dénis Suárez, Akhomach & Comesña ON
Capoue, Gerard & Terrats OFF
A bit of a defensive horror show from the home side, who fail to clear their lines.
The ball bounces up inside the box and Ferran gets on the end of a rebound to smash a volley past Jörgensen from close range.
FERRAN GETS BARÇA'S THIRD
Lewandowski tries a scandalous flick inside the area towards Lamine Yamal; Villarreal survive.
The home side are preparing changes…
A half chance as Marcos Alonso's shot is saved by Jörgensen, who drops the ball (literally) and it rolls out for a corner.
Gavi has moved inside to cover the position that was occupied by Oriol Romeu. Ferran is wide left.
Ferran Torres ON
Pedraza is brought down in his own half and he opens the Book of Dark Arts, staying firmly on the ground as he reads its pages.
The ball is clipped by the German to the far post but Villarreal clear the danger.
Gundogan and Marcos Alonso are stood over the ball.
Barça have a dangerous free kick on the left side of the box after De Jong is brought down by Parejo.
The Polish forward found an inch of space inside the box and hit a ferocious effort that was pushed away by Jörgensen!
LEWANDOWSKI'S SHOT IS SAVED
Great work from Sørloth, who receives the ball off balance yet manages to keep control and push away the oncoming Barça defenders. A top quality performance so far from the striker.
Jörgensen catches Lamine Yamal's cross with ease.
Terrats has been booked for a foul.
The young winger clipped a delightful pass from the edge of the box to the penalty spot before seeing it returned to him where he threw a fireball-infused boot at the ball that crashed off the crossbar!
YAMAL OFF THE BAR!!!!!
Foyth pushes and shoves and climbs past Marcos Alonso on Barça's left to get in behind and fire a cross into the box, but his effort is blocked.
Barça had not conceded a single goal all season so far… now they've conceded three in 50 minutes!
Pedraza went on an amazing, adventurous run down the left side before skipping into the central channel, Barça players following him.
The ball went from his own half to the edge of the Barça box before he popped it left to Baena, whose first time curling effort to the far post was too much for Ter Stegen!
VILLARREAL ARE AHEAD
Jörgensen gets a fist on the end of a cross before Oriol Romeu's edge of the box effort is smacked over the bar.
Xavi's side are seeing the early possession in the second half as they look to tap their way through Villarreal's defensive unit.
The news regarding the Eric García/Christensen change is that it was due to a muscle injury.
Barcelona start on the front foot and Gundogan links up delightfully with Lewandowski on the edge of the box. Villarreal clear.
And we're off!
Barcelona kick us off for the second half…
Eric García ON
The pass, the pass that I'm in love with
Here's a lovely picture of the moment of class and talent that changed the game.
Gerard's ball through to Pedraza on the left cut through Barcelona's defence like a lightsaber and set up the Spaniard perfectly to play across goal to the Norwegian goal machine.
Sørloth is causing Barça all sorts of problems…
If he has a second half anywhere near as good as the first, then he's a prime candidate for MVP of the game.
Villarreal and Barcelona have gone toe to toe in what might be an early contender for 45 minutes of the season.
The Yellow Submarine started off strongly and had the ball in the back of the net, but a VAR check correctly ruled Sørloth inches offside.
The home side continued to put Barça under all sorts of pressure before, out of nowehere, Gavi got on the end of a Yamal cross that put the blaugrana ahead after just 15 minutes.
Seconds later, a loose touch from Alfonso Pedraza saw De Jong latch on to the ball inside the box and the Dutch midfielder smashed past Jörgensen from close range to put Xavi's side 2-0 up, despite the onslaught they had ridden for the opening minutes of the tie.
Villarreal reacted well and a thunderous header from Foyth cut the lead down to one goal before Sørloth's tap in was given following an outrageous pass through the lines from Gerard Moreno.
All in all, it's been a fantastically frantic and fun game of football, so let's hope the second half continues with what we've seen so far!
What a half of football!
Gavi's face says it all, there have been huge showings of fight and grit in a first half of football that has had almost everything!
I'm not sure why, but Foyth and Lewandowski have both been booked.
Presumably for being very naughty boys.
Into the last minute of the half.
A half chance for Barcelona as Yamal gets on the end of a long ball and slips between two players before seeing his shot blocked.
A few feisty tackles have come flying in from both teams as the tension level rises…
6 added minutes.
All that VAR.
It's the home side now who are tip, tap, tip, tapping the ball around their yellow shirts. Barcelona can't keep up.
Yamal is booked for a foul.
Villarreal countered and Álex Baena's pass with the outside of the boot towards Sørloth was delightful – and just onside.
The Norwegian played back towards Gerard who then found Pedraza on the opposite wing with the best pass of the season so far.
The Spaniard, as said, simply played the ball across goal to Sørloth who was waiting to tap in.
VILLARREAL DRAW LEVEL
THE GOAL STANDS
VAR are taking a look for a potential offside.
Gerard slides a delightful ball through the entire Barcelona defence to Pedraza, who cross low towards Sørloth, and the striker only has to tap in from close range!
That pass from Gerard was sublime…
WHAT A GOAL
VILLARREAL DRAW LEVEL
A cross is fired in towards Gavi who can't reach it with his head before a shot from distance is caught by Jörgensen.
The game has, dare I say it, seemed to settle into something of a pattern as Barcelona find time and space to start forming their triangles to move through the thirds.
Ten minutes until half-time…
Gavi slides in to take the ball from Capoue, who had robbed De Jong in the middle of the pitch and launched a counter attack.
Bara run up the other end and win a corner after Marcos Alonso's cross is blocked.
It's Barcelona with the ball, but it's not the typical, calm passing around the back you might expect.
Villarreal have cut them off at all angles and are making the away side feel like they're playing football inside a house of mirrors.
What a half hour of football we've had…
BAENA'S SHOT IS SAVED!
The forward went for the sublime, hitting a shot towards the far post, but Ter Stegen saved easily.
Villarreal have a dangerous free-kick right on the edge of the box.
Capoue was brought down by Gavi after good pressure from the home side.
Another chance for Villarreal!
Gerard Moreno hits a shot from the edge of the box that is well blocked.
Barça need to calm down the home side before they cause more damage…
The crowd, which is a sell-out, are all on their feet and are cheering on the home side with an incredible noise!
The corner is fired in and Juan Foyth crashes a header past Ter Stegen!
There is no stopping that one!
VILLARREAL GET ONE BACK
The left-back fires forward at the speed of a swirling neutron star before shooting a rocket at Ter Stegen that is excellently saved.
HUGE SAVE FROM TER STEGEN
Barcelona, with just a few touches, get through a very weak Villarreal defence.
De Jong steps up and slides in the Polish forward, but his shot is blocked by Cuenca.
BIG CHANCE FOR BARÇA
Villarreal have a few tentative steps forward with Pedraza, Gerard and Foyth, but Barça's confidence is high and they defend comfortably.
It's Barça with the possession now as they look to calmly tap the ball around their midfield lines while Villarreal press.
Back underway. If Villarreal didn't deserve to be one down, they certainly don't deserve to be two down.
A huge defensive mistake from Pedraza, who taps the ball away from Gundogan on the edge of the box.
The loose touch falls to DeJong, who is waiting in the middle of the box and smashes a low effort past the goalkeeper to make it two.
OUT OF NOWHERE, BARÇA ARE TWO GOALS UP
BARCELONA MAKE IT TWO
We're back underway and it doesn't take a genius to work out that Villarreal do not deserve to be behind in this game.
The corner came in and Yamal collected the ball on the far side. He twisted his profile and popped the ball onto his left foot before swinging in a far-post cross that an invisible Gavi headed past Jörgensen!
Barcelona finally put their pieces together and create an attacking situation, ending in a corner.
It's Baena this time, who jinks past one before slipping in Sørloth behind the defensive line that is shaking from left to right.
However, the angle was just too tight and Ter Stegen's knee got in the way.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR VILLARREAL
Barcelona are all over the place here… Villarreal are having a very easy time in switching the play and breaking inside from wide areas.
Gerard Moreno is the latest player to see his shot blocked.
Pedraza broke down the left side and tapped the simplest of passes to the edge of the box where Álex Baena was waiting…
But he opened up his foot too much and his shot flew wide of the far post!
WHAT A HUGE CHANCE FOR VILLARREAL
BAENA JUST WIDE
As you were…
VAR take a look… and it's offside!
However, it looks like Capoue was just ahead of play before the ball went past him…
The ball was played in from the right behind the Barça defence and ran past Capoue before finding Sørloth, who slotted past Ter Stegen.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VILLARREAL SCORE!!!!!!
Villarreal have their first attack, and the counter is put together by Gerard Moreno who works it well inside from the right.
His final ball, however, is poor and Barça survive.
Villarreal are pressing Barcelona very highly up the pitch, forcing the Catalan side to work hard to break out of their defensive thrid.
De Jong picks the ball up on the left side and drives forward before sending a curved pass around the defence to the far post, but Lewandowski can't reach it.
Gundogan gets forward and nearly gets on the end of a long ball pumped over the top, but Villarreal defend.
Barça immediately recover the ball and begin to pass around the back with Oriol Romeu dropping deep to collect from the centre-backs.
And we're off!
It's the home side who kick us off.
Barcelona are in their white away shirt, blue shorts and hooped socks; Villarreal, as you might expect, are in all yellow.
The players are out! Ready to go!
A reminder of the starting XIs:
Foyth – Gabbia – Cuenca – Pedraza
Terrats – Parejo – Capoue – Álex B
Gerard – Sørtloth
S. Roberto – Christensen – Kounde – Alonso
Romeu – De Jong – Gundogan
Yamal – Lewandowski – Gavi
10 minutes to go!
The players have finished their pre-game warmups and are already in the changing rooms for their final team talks!
Who have Villarreal signed?
Ben Brereton: In what might be one of the most curious transfers of the summer, the Chilean international joined Villarreal from Blackburn Rovers, who play in the Championship, England’s second division.
The striker scored 47 goals in 177 appearances for the English side, and was touted with plenty of clubs before finally making the move to Spain.
His debut came last week against Real Mallorca, where he played 77 minutes of the game.
Dénis Suárez: The former Manchester City, Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder moved to the Yellow Submarine on a freetransfer on July 1, from Celta Vigo.
Suárez comes in with a wealth of experience and a creative eye that is always looking towards goal, something which will be especially crucial given the attacking additions that have been made over the summer.
Alexander Sørloth: The big Norwegian striker signed for the Spanish club from RB Leipzig after a year on loan at Real Sociedad, where he scored 16 goals.
At Villarreal, he will be looking to find his top form and a forever home after 10 clubs and four loan spells across the globe.
Here's the match sheet for the game
In what is a curious and very helpful move, Villarreal have handily provided the official match sheet for today's game, highlighting all the information for the tie.
Barça's lineup has been revealed and there are no doubts as to how they will line up: with Sergi Roberto at right-back and Kounde at centre-back.
As for Villarreal, they have Pedraza at left-back and Terrats on the right.
Pau Barrena / AFP
Barcelona: who have they signed?
The ex-City player arrived on a free after winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup as the captain of the side led by Pep Guardiola.
A German international, Gundogan brings a wealth of experience to the midfield that has now lost talisman Sergio Busquets to the Miami revolution.
Gundogan featured 51 times for City last season as they broke record after record, scoring 11 goals and grabbing 7 assists in all competitions.
The midfielder arrived from Girona to plug the huge chasm left by Busquets, and many, it must be said, were not overwhelmed by the signing.
However, Oriol has indeed made his case to be a permanent starter, and has performed brilliantly in both of Barça’s games this season.
He has moved into the correct positions when needed and has also shown a capacity with the ball that justifies Xavi’s faith in the player.
The season is long and Romeu will have his ups and downs, but for now, the ex-Chelsea man is looking like a safe bet for the blaugrana.
A Spain international, Iñigo arrived to Barcelona on a free transfer but his debut for the club will have to wait, given he has an injury known as Plantar fasciitis, a notoriously tough problem to treat.
The issue affects the sole of the foot close to the heel and the recovery time depends heavily on the player.
Some come back after no time at all while other players can be affected for months without a solution, which is why Barça have remained coy on a potential return date.
Bruna Casas / Reuters
Where is Pedri?
The young Spaniard, after a stellar season in the previous campaign, has seen his start to the competition cut short after suffering a thigh injury.
At just 20-years-old, it is not the first time Pedri has had to sit in the injury room and watch from the sidelines, and his absence caused Barça a lot of problems last year.
There is no timescale on his injuryand no indication of exactly when he might return, but what is certain is that the gap left behind by the ex-Las Palmas man is one that Xavi will have to work quickly to fill.
Who was the American goalkeeper on the bench for Barcelona against Cádiz in LaLiga?
This season, the Catalan team have called up various youth team players as substitutes for their games against Getafe and Cádiz in LaLiga, including a goalkeeper from the USA.
Today, Barcelona have named US international Diego Kochen in their squad.
Kochenis of Venezuelan and Peruvian origin and the 17-year-old is part of Barça’s Juvenil A team.
He has not yet played a minute for the first team due to the excellent form and good health of first-choice stopper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the reports about him suggest that Barcelona have a real star on their hands.
Who is the ref?
Alejandro Hernández Hernández (40), is today’s referee for the game.
Born on the island of Lanzarote, the referee was a second division official from the 07/08 season before making the leap to the top tier in 2012.
Since then, he has overseen more than 100 games as a referee, including games in the Nations League, Europa League and Champions League.
Barcelona arrive at the stadium!
Kick-off is fast approaching and the blaugrana have already arrived at the ground!
Villarreal's story so far_
The Yellow Submarine have, after two games, had a mixed start to the season so far.
Their first game of the 23/24 campaign saw them cruelly lose 1-2 to Real Betis at home, thanks to a late, late goal from Willian José.
They huffed and puffed against LosVerdiblancosuntil the second half when defender Cuenca headed past Rui Silva, drawing level after Ayoze Pérez had put the away side ahead.
But a rocket header from the former Real Madrid man sent Quique Setién’s side back home with 0 points.
In their second game, Villarreal managed to find their feet.
The game was very even with Mallorca not seeing themselves as the underdogs against the team that finished 5th last season, and they created plenty of chances to go ahead.
But it was Villarreal hero, Gerard Moreno, who broke the deadlock and scored, the goal coming from another set piece.
Villarreal vs Barcelona, last 5 games:
Here are the most recent fixtures between the two sides, where Barcelona have asserted their dominance over Quique Setien's side.
· 12/02/23 Villarreal 0-1 Barça
· 20/10/22 Barça 3-0 Villarreal
· 22/05/22 Barça 0-2 Villarreal
· 27/11/21 Villarreal 1-3 Barça
· 25/04/21 Villarreal 1-2 Barça
Yamal becomes youngest Barcelona debutant: whose record did he break?
Fifteen-year-old forward Lamine Yamal made Barcelona history when he came on as a second-half substitute against Real Betis last season.
Aged 15 years and nine months, Yamal was brought on as a substitute in the 83rd minute at the Camp Nou, replacing fellow Barça youth product Gavi.
The forward broke a club record that had lasted since 1941, when Vicenç Martínez was given his debut for the Catalans at the age of 16 years and 10 months.
Here's the full report of the Barça player who makes history every time he steps onto the pitch.
Villarreal starting XI:
DEF: Foyth – Gabbia – Cuenca – Pedraza
MID: Parejo – Terrats – Capoue
ATT: Sørloth – Gerard – Álex Baena
Here's Barcelona's starting XI:
Anyone want to guess what the Barça formation is for this one?
It could be a 4-3-3, a 5-3-2 or a 4-5-1.
Seri Roberto is the question mark, as he can fill-in at right-back or a midfielder.
GK: Ter Stegen
DEF: Koundé – Christensen – M. Alonso – Roberto
MID: Romeu – De Jong – Gündogan
ATT: Gavi – Lewandowski – Yamal
Quique García / EFE
Xavi Hernández gives his support to Jenni Hermoso
The Barça boss made his position clear regarding Jennifer Hermoso and the controversy that has surrounded the Spanish Football Federation, saying "I want to give my unconditional support to Jennifer Hermoso and the players".
Footage emerged of RFEF President, Luis Rubiales, forcefully kissing Hermoso on the lips during the medal presentation after full-time in the final against England.
In what should be the honeymoon period after one of Spain’s greatest sporting achievements, we are instead talking about the institutional sexism that rots within the federation.
Follow us to read every update on the situation as the story unfolds.
Villarreal have a huge task ahead of them…
Barcelona have scored 98 goals against the Yellow Submarine, meaning just two more would see them reach 100 and become the first ever team to do so.
Villarreal have also not won against the blaugrana at home since the name of the stadium was changed from El Madrigal to Estadio de la Cerámica, back in 2017.
Barcelona squad news:
The Blaugrana have, due to the various injuries and suspensions that they face, included a multitude of youngsters in their match day squad.
Pau Cubarsí has received his first ever call-up to the senior team and not-yet-famous names such as Astralaga, Fermínand Casadó are also in the squad.
Injuries and suspensions: Barcelona
Pedri is out with an injury (more on that later), as is super centre-back, RonaldAraujo. The Uruguayan played 31 times last season, missing out a lot due to various physical issues.
As well as the two big hitters who are injured, right-winger Raphinha is unavailable for Barcelona as he’s suspended after picking up a red card in the angry season opener against Getafe.
And, perhaps most significantly, Xavi himself will not be able to be on the sidelines as he too is also suspended following a sending off against Getafe.
Injuries and suspensions: Villarreal
Francis Coquelin, Villarreal’s French midfielder, is the only major absence from Quique Setién’s side today as the player has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which will likely see him out for the rest of the season.
Coquelin played 25 times last season and filled in at both central midfield and also on the right, becoming a key part of Setién’s side as they finished 5th in LaLiga and made it to the Champions League semi-finals, beating Juventus and Bayern Munich along the way.
Borja Sánchez-Trillo / EFE
Start to the season: Barcelona
In what might come as something of a shock, Barcelona’s start to the season has not been without debate.
Their season opener against Getafe brought with it a gust of controversy and a splash of early-season anger from just about everyone with the capacity to spell football, as the debate of the ball-in-play time rose to the surface.
It was partly due to Getafe manager Bordalás and his approach to the beautiful game, and partly due to Xavi’s huge rant in the post-match press conference about referees, in which he claimed that Gavi’s handball was “invented” and that “the referee is the one who allows [fouls to go unchallenged], there’s no other explanation. I think they allow too much, and if that’s what we sell from LaLiga, we’re doing badly, we’re not selling a good product.”
The Barça boss got sent off as well during the game; a simple, cheap smartwatch can be bought online for around €30, Xavi, it measures your heart rate and stress levels… might be something to think about.
Anyway, Barça drew the game 0-0 and travelled to their new home stadium of Montjuïc to play Cádiz, who, after finding it tough to get through the yellow wall, a couple of late goals from Pedri and Ferran, they beat comfortably, 2-0.
While it’s not yet worth looking at the table just yet, Barça are 6th.
We’re up and running with the AS USA live coverage of Villarreal vs Barcelona in LaLiga EA Sports! Here you’ll find all the action as it happens in eastern Spain.
It’s Joe here today, accompanying you as we see two LaLiga heavyweights go head to head.
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