FC Barcelona traveled to Villarreal on Saturday night for week 21 of this season’s Spanish League. The “yellow subs” as they are known to their fans are way down the table in the relegation zone and things aren’t too good for them. Out of 19 matches played before meeting Barcelona, they had won only four, with seven draws and eight losses.
In comparison, FC Barcelona have won 13 wins, with five draws and only one defeat. Also take a look at the number of goals: only 18 for Villarreal against 59 for Barcelona. Therefore, on paper, it should have been an easy win for Barcelona, whose morale should have been good after knocking Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey during the week.
However, football is not about statistics and it is not fought on paper; it’s what happens on the pitch that counts and in the event there was little real chance of scoring. The Villarreal keeper seemed to be in good shape when Barcelona were on target, and the yellow subs’ defense was solid, so creating those opportunities was difficult. The first half offered Barca few opportunities, and although Villarreal created several chances to attack Barcelona’s goal, nothing came of it in the end.
When the teams came out of the second half, Villarreal looked a bit more urgent, but it was Barcelona who controlled the game. However, despite having high ball possession, they couldn’t do anything that matters. It wasn’t really until the last ten minutes of the game that Barca had any good scoring opportunities and it looked like they were going to take all three points. However, that just didn’t happen and the match ended scoreless.
The result was disappointing for Barcelona, who were already behind Real Madrid by five points. Real Madrid winning their game on Saturday, now leave Barcelona seven points behind and it looks like La Liga is out of reach. Although in theory they are not excluded from the race, it will take poor results from Madrid to reverse the trend. It remains to be seen whether misfortune will hit Madrid so hard. While their first game against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals was won comfortably by Barcelona, the return leg was nowhere near so close and in fact Barcelona were fortunate enough to draw 2-2 and to qualify; now that they are no longer in contention for the Copa del Rey, Madrid can focus on domestic and European trophies.