Inside view: The trip to Villarreal

The trip to El Madrigal resulted in three valuable points. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
A nine minute video of FC Barcelona’s trip to El Madrigal

Barça’s first official away trip of the season took them to Villarreal, and the team got the job done. A 1-0 win has kept the Catalans top of the Liga table.

Now you can enjoy nine minutes showing exclusive footage of the trip to El Madrigal, beginning with the train journey south, and the arrival in Villarreal, where the squad were transferred from the station to their hotel. While the players rested, other members of staff got things ready for them in the stadium.

The video also shows close-ups of the players as they warmed up for the match, and also their interactions with the media once it was all over and they could head home satisfied with another three points in the bag.

Solid defence marks start of the season #fcblive

Claudi Bravo and Marc Bartra against Napoli/ PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Claudio Bravo has yet to concede a single goal in the league and the team let in just 2 in their 5 pre-season games

Luis Enrique’s new Barça team are showing  great defensive solidity so far this season, with Caludio Bravo keeping two clean sheets in the league’s opening games. It was clear from Barça’s pre-season performances that a dependable defence was going to be one of the foundations of this side, with just two goals conceded in the five pre-season friendlies.

Bravo the only unbeaten keeper in the league

Not only do  Barça top the league going into the international break, they are also the only side yet to concede a goal, indeed Claudio Bravo hasn’t had to make a single save over the first 180 minutes of 2014/15 league action – a clear sign of the team’s defensive determination. With Mascherano andMathieu starting against Elche, Bartra coming on for the Argentinian after his red card and Piqué alongside the Frenchman against Villarreal, the defence, with  Alves and Jordi Albas at full back and Busquets  as dependable as ever as the holding midfielder, has looked rock solid over the two games.

Good pre-season foundations

The two pre-season goals came from a penalty against Nice and another in the game against Napoli. Thise two goals in five games came with Luis Enrique using all three keepers: Masip against Hèlsinki and 45 minute against Recreativo, Ter Stegen, currently out injured, also played against Recre and had a full 90 minutes against Nice and Claudio Bravo who made his debut against Napoli and also played the Joan Gamper Trophy.

All the facts and figures from Villarreal:

Pedro and Musacchio. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Barça dominated possession in beating Villarreal

Sandro’s late winner against Villarreal means Luis Enrique’s side go into the international break top of La Liga with two wins from two. Here are some of the facts and figures from the match:

  • Barça have won 8 and drawn 3 of their last 11 games against Villarreal.
  • Villarreal hit the woodwork three times and Barça twice – that makes it four posts in two games for Luis Enrique’s side.
  • Villarreal had 9 shots to Barça’s 20.
  • Even so, Claudio Bravo has still to make a single save in open play after Barça’s two first league games.
  • Barça enjoyed 75%. of possession over the game
  • Barça completed 667 passes to Villarreal’s 205.
  • Dani Alves was one of the most active players in the game, making 102 successful passes from 130 attempts.
  • Busquets won most balls back for the team (14).
  • Barça have now played 2.650 league games, with 1,496 wins, 546 draws and 608 defeats.
  • Sandro’s goal was Barça’s number 5,566 del Barça in their league history, having conceded 3,027.

Luis Enrique: “This result will do us good”

Luis Enrique led the team to victory at El Madrigal / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The manager highlighted his players’ dedication in overcoming Villarreal

“I’m pleased to see the youngsters helping us so much”, he added in reference to Sandro, who marked his debut with a goal

Barça had to work hard to beat Villarreal, but got there in the end with a late goal from Sandro Ramírez, who couldn’t have wished for a better debut performance. Luis Enrique was especially impressed with how much hard work his players put into what he called “a passionate game to watch with possession changing hands all the time and both sides having chances.”[[CITA_1]]

“But the condition of the pitch didn’t help either team when it came to shooting” he griped, which made it doubly gratifying that “both teams wanted to go out play good football … Villarreal knew how to wait at the back but also caused some shocks in attack.” It all ended with Sandro snatching the three points, the manager commenting that “this result will do us a lot of good, especially considering the way it came about.”

This win, coupled with the 3-0 defeat of Elche on the opening day, “has set us up nicely for the next few weeks” added Luis Enrique, who also explained that “if we can create fast transitions with the ball, our opponents suffer, because running after the ball tires them out … It was a great result, because not many teams will be able to win at El Madrigal”.[[CITA_2]]

The Asturian also told his post-match press conference that “I’ve been satisfied with everything since I arrived at Barça. We have a lot to improve, but the way the players are responding is staggering. It’s still early, but there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic”. And finally, on Sandro’s goal, Luis Enrique said that “I’m pleased to see that the youngsters are helping us so much. We are happy for him and with all of the hard work that the young players are doing”.

It was a passionate game to watch with possession changing hands all the time and both sides having chances
I’ve been satisfied with everything since I arrived at Barça. We have a lot to improve, but the way the players are responding is staggering

Messi pulled an adductor muscle and Munir bruised his thigh against Villarreal

Leo Messi hit the post twice against Villarreal / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Both FC Barcelona strikers ended the game with fitness concerns

Following the 1-0 win at Villarreal, the Club Medical Services have released a statement regarding the conditions of Leo Messi and Munir.

The former has pulled an adductor muscle in right hip, and precautionary measures will be required. Meanwhile, Munir has bruising on his right thigh. Tests on Tuesday should be able to determine the full extent of the injury.

The Argentinian played all ninety minutes of the win at El Madrigal, while Munir was on the field for 59 of them.

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