Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani
Alves, Puyol, Abidal, Maxwell (Adriano 85'); Xavi (Mascherano 89'), Busquets,
Iniesta; Messi, David Villa (Keita 72'), Pedro. 4-3-3.
Villarreal: Diego López; Ángel, Marchena, Musacchio, Capdevila; Cazorla, Bruno, Borja Valero (Jefferson Montero 78'), Cani (Marcos Senna 70'); Nilmar, Rossi. 4-4-2.
1-0. 22. David Villa. Picked up Iniesta pass and stabbed angled shot past keeper.
1-1. 26. Nilmar. Cut in past Puyol and beat Valdés with angled shot off far post.
2-1. 58. Messi. Lifted shot past Diego López after quick passing move with Pedro.
3-1. 83. Messi. Touched ball past keeper after Pedro shot deflected by Capdevila.
Yellow cards: Abidal 34', Borja Valero 45', Maxwell 67', Angel 73'.
La Liga looks more and more like being a two horse race once again after Barcelona beat third placed Villarreal 3-1 on Saturday evening. In recent seasons the visitors had come away from the Nou Camp with a point or more, but midway through the first half Xavi and Iniesta combined to send Villa through to open the scoring. A few minutes later Messi passed across for Pedro to find the net, but the play was incorrectly pulled up by referee Delgado Ferreiro for a non-existent offside, and almost immediately Nilmar burst through at the other end to equalise.
For the rest of the first half Villarreal were on top, with Cazorla and Bruno missing the target, and Rossi bringing a good save out of Valdés from a free kick. But after the restart Barça wrested back the control, and Messi restored the lead after a rapid passing move with Pedro following a quickly taken free kick. This time the visitors had no response, and with seven minutes to go Messi wrapped things up, playing the ball on past Diego López from a possible offside position after Pedro's shot was deflected by Capdevila. Guardiola's side go top pending Real Madrid's game tomorrow, now five points clear of their opponents in the table.