Barça cruised past Zaragoza at the Camp Nou tonight, with four goals from Piqué, Messi, Puyol and Villa to round off another brilliant exhibition of football
The international break certainly hasn't knocked Barça off their stride, as Guardiola's team got back into La Liga action with a convincing 4-0 win over Zaragoza at the Camp Nou, with some exquisite football, particularly in the first 45 minutes. With first half goals from Piqué and Messi, the game was pretty much sorted at the break and Puyol's third and a fourth from Villa rounded off another stunning show of authority, with no signs of rustiness or tiredness following the players' international exertions.
The win means Barça remain the only unbeaten team in the league and will no doubt serve as a morale booster ahead of the midweek Champions League game in Milan.
Piqué puts Barça ahead
Guardiola sent out a three man forward line, with Cuenca and Alexis out wide and that allowed Barça to open up the full width of the pitch. Right from the off, it was clear that the team were in an inspired mood, as they shifted the ball around at pace and began to lay siege to Roberto's goal. Zaragoza tried to stop Barça with a series of fouls to slow the game down, but Xavi took advantage of one of the resulting free kicks to centre perfectly for Piqué to head home the opener.
After the goal, Barça upped their game another step and Xavi, Cesc and Messi mesmerised the Valencia defence with their close passing, with only some good stops from Roberto avoiding the second, which eventually came on 42 minutes when Messi got his reward for his part in a first half of fluid passing football that was up there with the best we've seen this season.
Puyol makes it three
Half time came with Barça continuing to impress and Aguirre was forced to make a couple of changes at the break, bringing on Ruben Micael and Lafita, who created a couple of great opportunities at the start of the second half, as Zaragoza decided to go toe to toe with Barça, but Puyol put a stop to that with the third goal after a great headed pass from Keita. Barça's two central defenders tonight both scored and also put in dominant performances at the back.
Villa wraps it up
With the result settled, Guardiola took off Alexis, Xavi and Cesc and brought on Iniesta, Thiago and Villa. The changes proved providential, as Iniesta came close to making it four and then Villa scored a spectacular diving header after good work down the right from Cuenca. The goal was well received by the Camp Nou faithful, who despite the rain, roared their team off the pitch at the end of the game after a monumental Mexican wave.