Barcelona 0-2 Villarreal: Xavi's side end season with dire defeat

By Sports Desk May 22, 2022

Barcelona's season ended with a whimper as Villarreal sealed a 2-0 LaLiga win at Camp Nou on Sunday.

The Catalan club's spot in next season's Champions League was secured earlier in May, yet Xavi will be disappointed his side have ended the campaign with just a solitary point from their final two games.

They went behind late in the first half through Alfonso Pedraza's strike, before Moi Gomez sealed maximum points for Unai Emery's men in the second half.  

The result meant second-placed Barca ended the campaign a whopping 13 points behind champions Real Madrid, while Villarreal finished seventh.

Adama Traore flashed over and Ferran Torres was denied by Geronimo Rulli inside a bright opening 10 minutes for the hosts.

Barca looked the more likely to open the scoring inside the opening half hour, yet all they had to show for their dominance was a Sergio Busquets strike that flew narrowly over the crossbar.

The inability to take advantage of their superiority was punished four minutes before the interval as Alfonso Pedraza latched onto Daniel Parejo's pass and steered past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Villarreal doubled their advantage in the 55th minute when Gomez lashed into the roof of net after cutting out Traore's dismal attempted clearance. 

Frenkie de Jong had an effort ruled out for offside late on as Barca tried in vain to find their way back into the game. 

What does it mean? Villarreal end dire run against insipid hosts

Xavi has done well to steady the Barca ship after a chaotic start to the season, yet he will be disappointed with the way his players' intensity has dropped off in the final two games of the season.

Victory for Villarreal, meanwhile, ended a run of 10 straight LaLiga defeats at Camp Nou, which was their worst run of successive away losses against a single opponent in the competition's history.

Pass master Parejo

Parejo's superb pass for Pedraza's goal saw him move level with Athletic Bilbao's Iker Muniain and Barca's Jordi Alba as LaLiga's top assister this season (10). It is the most he has ever achieved in his 14 seasons playing in the Spanish top flight.

Torrid time for Traore

Barca are not expected to take up the option of turning Traore's loan move from Wolves into a permanent one and it was not hard to see why on this evidence. The 26-year-old offered nothing in attack and was directly responsible for Villarreal's second goal – his last act before being hauled off for Ousmane Dembele.

Related items

  • Rangnick confirms Bayern Munich contact Rangnick confirms Bayern Munich contact

    Ralf Rangnick has confirmed Bayern Munich have been in contact over their soon-to-be vacant coaching position.

    Bayern are on the lookout for a new coach, with Thomas Tuchel set to depart at the end of the season.

    The Bundesliga giants wanted to appoint Xabi Alonso, but the 42-year-old snubbed their advances, and those of Liverpool, to stay at Bayer Leverkusen.

    Bayern's search has now seemingly led them to Rangnick, the former Manchester United interim boss who is now coach of Austria's national team.

    Rangnick, though, is paying full attention to Austria's upcoming Euro 2024 campaign.

    "There has been contact from the side of Bayern Munich and I have informed the Austrian Football Association," Rangnick said in an interview with 90 Minuten.

    "We have a very trusting relationship. My focus is on the Austrian national team. We are focusing completely on the European championships.

    "I feel very well here. At the moment there is no reason to intensively deal with this."

    Rangnick has plenty of Bundesliga experience, having previously coached Stuttgart, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

    While Bayern's hopes of securing a 12th Bundesliga title have long since been over, they remain in with a shout of salvaging their season, with a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on the horizon.

    According to Opta's predictive model, Bayern only have a 37 per cent chance of overcoming Los Blancos, however.

     

    Austria, meanwhile, have been drawn into a Euro 2024 group that also includes Poland, the Netherlands and tournament favourites France.

    Rangnick's team will face Les Bleus on June 17, before taking on Poland four days later, and rounding off their group campaign against the Dutch on June 25. 

  • Haaland out of Brighton clash, confirms Man City boss Guardiola Haaland out of Brighton clash, confirms Man City boss Guardiola

    Manchester City will be without Erling Haaland when they take on Brighton, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

    Haaland missed Saturday's FA Cup semi-final victory over Chelsea with a muscular injury he sustained against Real Madrid last week.

    And the issue will also see the striker, who has scored 20 Premier League goals this season, miss out against the Seagulls on Thursday.

    "Erling is not ready for tomorrow," said Guardiola, who added that City will be able to call on Phil Foden and John Stones.

    "It's not a big issue but he's not available."

    Haaland has scored, on average, every 109 minutes in the league this season.

    However, the Norwegian has actually underperformed his expected goals (xG) of 23.7.

    He has also chipped in with five assists, giving him an overall goal contributions tally of 25. Haaland has created 28 goalscoring chances for team-mates across the campaign.

    After Arsenal's 5-0 thrashing of Chelsea on Tuesday, reigning Premier League champions Manchester City sit four points off the summit in third place, albeit with two games in hand.

    Second-place Liverpool will aim to move level on points with the Gunners by beating Merseyside rivals Everton on Wednesday.

  • Liverpool line up Feyenoord coach Slot as Klopp replacement Liverpool line up Feyenoord coach Slot as Klopp replacement

    Arne Slot appears to be at the front of the queue to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

    Klopp confirmed in January that he would be leaving the Reds at the end of the season.

    Xabi Alonso, who has led Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title, was swiftly established as a leading candidate to take the helm at Anfield, where he starred as a player for the Reds between 2004 and 2009.

    The 42-year-old, however, is staying put in Germany, and Liverpool's search for Klopp's successor has taken them to Feyenoord's door.

    Slot has been previously linked to jobs in the Premier League. Leeds United wanted to appoint him last season before their relegation to the Championship, while he was targeted by Tottenham before they appointed Ange Postecoglou.

    The Dutchman intimated when linked with Spurs: "A normal next step would be to go abroad and I've always said that the best league in the world is the Premier League."

    Ideally, Liverpool will be aiming for a coach who can come close to replicating Klopp's style of play, and in particular has a flair for working with and developing young players.

    Slot has enjoyed fantastic success in Rotterdam. He became Feyenoord head coach in December 2022, after leaving AZ, and went on to win the Eredivisie title in 2022-23, having reached the Europa League final in the previous season.

    The 45-year-old has a 64.4 per cent win record from 146 games in charge, winning 94, drawing 29 and losing just 23.

    His Feyenoord team have scored 329 goals, an average of 2.2 per match, conceding 147 in return. Slot's points per game is a hugely impressive 2.13.

    Feyenoord are, though, set to relinquish their Eredivisie crown, as they trail leaders PSV by nine points. They have, however, won the KNVB Cup this term. 

    As there is no break clause in the Dutchman's contract, it has been reported that a compensation fee in the region of €10million (£8.5m) could prise him away from Feyenoord.

    Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim is another coach who has been heavily linked with the Liverpool job, albeit he is reportedly in talks with West Ham.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.