A brace from Ansu Fati, one from Lionel Messi and an own goal from Pau Torres saw a winning start to Ronald Koeman’s tenure at Barça
Barça started the first official match of Ronald Koeman’s tenure on the front foot, pegging Villarreal back at every opportunity.
An open game saw both goalkeepers called upon in the early exchanges, before Ansu Fati rifled the blaugranes ahead just before the quarter hour from a pinpoint Jordi Alba assist.
Just four minutes later, the young striker doubled his and Barça’s tally, slotting home after a quick fire break that began with Neto’s sharp throw out.
Only a remarkable save from Sergio Asenjo stopped Lionel Messi from opening his 2020/21 account before the half hour, but the No.10 would do so from the spot on 34 after Ansu had been upended.
Philippe Coutinho almost added a fourth but Asenjo was equal to the shot once again, though the keeper could do nothing about Pau Torres’ own goal on 45 after Messi’s floated cross was completely misjudged by the defender.
A lovely one-two on 48 between Ansu and Messi deserved a fifth, as the hosts opened the second half in the same way as they’d finished the first.
In defence, Gerard Piqué was alert and equal to anything the Yellow Submarine had to offer, providing a solid base for Barça’s attacking players to continue taking the game to their opponents.
Such dominance allowed Koeman to hand Pedri, Trincão and Miralem Pjanic their debuts for the club, with Ousmane Dembélé also returning to official action after a few months on the sidelines.
Messi was denied yet again by Asenjo with five minutes left, in what was Barça’s best chance of the second half. In the end, the manner of victory ensured that the Koeman era got off to the best possible start.