One of La Liga’s most dramatic games at any point saw Barca lose a two-goal lead before scoring twice in the last minute to win a mind blowing 4-4 draw
Barcelona haven’t generally been a winning team, but pure success is not the reason they are so revered.
Indeed, even before the Pep Guardiola era where the group’s potential was completely bridled, thousands rushed to the Camp Nou, a temple of football, to watch amazing players feature in the red-and-blue stripes.
Furthermore, in an astonishing game of football on Spain’s east coast, Barcelona proved once again they are football’s most inspiring team, throwing away a 2-0 lead, before battling once again from 4-2 down to draw 4-4 against relegation-battling Villarreal. Are you not entertained?
Barca mentor Ernesto Valverde realized that Villarreal would play with a knife between their teeth.
Having seen the Yellow Submarine throw a two-goal lead against Celta Vigo in a transfer six-pointer at the end of the week, they were resolved to make amends.
“In the final games of the season the teams at the bottom always take a lot of points,” explained Valverde. “They’re all going to do everything they can and we must be prepared for these type of games.”
But then, he turned intensely. Not as far as numbers, rather weight. Three players totally crucial to the team, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic, started on the bench.
Might Barcelona have been better off playing a full-strength team, winning the game before rotating against Atletico at the weekend instead?
Presently they should contend energetically against Simeone’s unforgiving side, exhausting themselves before the Champions League conflict with Manchester United one week from now.
That challenge might be Barcelona’s prime goal however the league is the team’s bread and butter and letting it slip from here would haunt them forever.
Be that as it may, despite the fact that Messi wasn’t playing, viewers knew they were in for a rollercoaster ride.
At the point when Barcelona are off-balance, not at their controlling best, they are regularly unmistakably all the more engaging to watch. The matches are undeniably progressively open and this was a perfect example.
Villarreal saw the team sheet and smelt blood. The game started in a craze, with the hosts running at the champions-in-waiting, Samuel Chukwueze a consistent menace in yellow for the all-French central defensive partnership of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti.
Arouse, appreciating a fine season, looked always great by his absence as Villarreal stalled out into the Catalans. World Cup winner Umtiti looked every bit a player who has barely played in an injury-ravaged season.
But, Barcelona took a 2-0 lead, firmly against the run of play.
Malcom set up Philippe Coutinho, Barca’s two troubled Brazilians combining, before Vidal teed up Malcom for the second goal.
The winger was Barca’s greatest brilliant spot on the night. Each time he includes, in addition to the fact that he provides a contribution but he also looks a better fit for what the team are trying to do.
That is the indication of a player with a good attitude, somebody who doesn’t sulk, adapting as opposed to tunnel further into themselves rationally.
It is getting progressively troublesome for Valverde to leave Malcom on the fringes and the Brazilian could end up being the team’s secret weapon in the latter phases of the Champions League.
With their survival trusts on hold, the Yellow Submarine would not be sunk and strikes from Chukwueze, Karl Toko Ekambi, Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca turned the game completely on its head.
Coutinho hit the post toward one side, Ekambi at the other, in a rollicking clash which had nearly everything.
In fairness to Villarreal, there can’t be a more worrying sight in football than Messi coming on, as he did just after the hour mark.
Bacca’s fourth appeared to have torpedoed Barcelona and even a late red card for Alvaro Gonzalez shouldn’t have caused the hosts such a large number of issues – yet the Messi factor still lurked.
And the Argentine carved open the hosts, setting up a clear chance for Malcom which went to waste, before taking his anger out with a brutal 90th minute free-kick which rocketed into the top corner.
With Villarreal quivering physically and mentally, Suarez was left to do the honours, ramming home a typically savage drive through a crowd of players and into the net. 4-4.
It was the last kick of a striking, exceptional game, with this one of the hardest earned points of Barcelona’s season.
Ernesto Valverde said Barcelona needed to win six of their last nine games to win La Liga. That’s now six from eight.
If second-place Atletico can win at Camp Nou on Saturday, where Diego Simeone’s side will fight for their only chance of glory after Juventus came back to stun them in the Champions League, that gap becomes five points.
Still large enough, you feel, to keep Barca at the top of the table, but this result adds a spice to Saturday’s clash.
Perhaps more importantly, though, it was a remarkable game of football which, with all context removed, was an art-form in itself. This is exactly why Barcelona are perhaps football’s most magical team.