Barcelona maintained their winning start under Xavi Hernandez in LaLiga with a 3-1 victory over Villarreal on Saturday evening.
Xavi made only two changes to the side that got him off the mark against Espanyol, as Ronald Araujo started ahead of Oscar Mingueza at right-back while Abdessamad Azzalzouli had a rare start ahead of fellow young attacker Ilias Akhomach.
Azzalzouli was unfortunate not to give Blaugrana a perfect start in the fifth minute with a header towards the corner that was parried into the crossbar and over by shot-stopper Geronimo Rulli.
The visitors kept on creating glorious chances but they were let down by their finishing, particularly Memphis Depay who spurned two chances inside the first 20 minutes.
The Yellow Submarine were gaining momentum in the closing phase of the first stanza but they too lacked the finishing touches in the last third.
Xavi’s charges had a quick start in the second as Frenkie de Jong gave them the lead three minutes from the restart with a strike from the rebound after Rulli parried Depay’s shot onto his path.
Barcelona were hard to break down after that, which saw Unai Emery introduce Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze for Yeremi Pino in the 66th minute before Xavi made a similar change in the same moment, as Ousmane Dembele replaced Ezzalzouli in attack.
Chukwueze made the impact for Villarreal 14 minutes before time after making it 1-1 with a strike into the roof of the net after a lofted through ball by Arnaut Danjuma.
However, Depay restored the Catalan giants’ lead two minutes before time with a tap-in into an empty net after intercepting a headed back pass by Pervis Estupinan and rounded Rulli from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s long kick.
Blaugrana were awarded a penalty in stoppage time after Philippe Coutinho was brought down inside the box and the Brazilian stepped up to make it 3-1 on the day to hand Xavi back-to-back wins.