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Player ratings as Pedri goal earns win

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Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the league table to 11 points thanks to hard fought win over Villarreal.

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Pedri’s goal was enough for Barca, who’ve now won their last 11 games in all competitions.

Inside three minutes, Robert Lewandowski spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring for the league leaders. The legendary Polish striker was played clean through on goal by Pedri, but could only find Pepe Reina’s mid-riff with his subsequent effort on goal.

Lewa would then turn provider for Pedri in the 18th minute to break the deadlock. A sublime one-two between Lewandowski and Pedri led to the latter finding himself through on goal, and the youngster made no mistake with his finish, side-footing past Reina in the Villarreal goal.

Lewandowski would once again be at the heart of another fluid move from Barca a few minutes later, linking up with a few of his teammates on the right of the penalty box before forcing Reina into another smart save.

Villarreal almost found a way back into the game in added time at the end of the first half when Jose Luis Morales burst through on goal. The Spanish striker, after storming into the penalty area, could only fire into the side-netting with his resulting shot on goal.

That chance seemed to give the home side some renewed confidence heading into the second half, as they push forward with real intent after the interval. Despite their best efforts however, it was Barca who’d create the first great chance of the half.

Again Lewa was key in the build up as his lovely pass played Raphinha through on the right of the penalty before the Brazilian fired just wide of the post.

Villarreal thought they finally found a breakthrough in the 89th minute when Yeremy Pino backheeled the ball brilliantly through to Samuel Chukwueze, who would then side-foot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Yeremy, however, was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up.

GK – Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 5/10 – Did he make a save? We don’t think he did.

RB – Jules Kounde – 7/10 – Villarreal tried to play through the left-hand side of their attack and Kounde rarely let those attempts come of anything.

CB – Ronald Araujo – 9/10 – As brilliant as ever. Barcelona would be half the team without him.

CB – Andreas Christensen – 7/10 – Held firm alongside his centre-back partner.

LB – Alejandro Balde – 5/10 – Expected a bit more going forward from the exciting young full-back.

CM – Pedri – 8/10 – Scored the opener after some wonderful interplay with Lewandowski. Barca’s best player in the final third.

CM – Frenkie de Jong – 6/10 – Tidy in possession throughout.

CM – Franck Kessie – 5/10 – Active deeper in midfield than one would perhaps want him to be. Much more effective further up the park.

RW – Raphinha – 4/10 – Has been in great form recently, but not at his best on Sunday evening. Missed a great chance to double Barca’ lead in the second half.

ST – Robert Lewandowski – 7/10 – Bagged an assist for the opener. Links up so well with Pedri and Gavi.

LW – Gavi – 4/10 – Not at his brilliant best.

SUB – Ferran Torres – N.A.

SUB – Jordi Alba – N/A.

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