Barcelona, Dec 3 (IANS) Barcelona blanked Villarreal 2-0 with goals from Gerard Pique and Carles Aleña.
But it wasn't an easy match for the Catalan squad, which needed the win after Ernesto Valverde's boys had only managed to rack up one point of the six available in their last two games against Betis and Atletico de Madrid, reports Efe news.
Fielding the same 11 players on Sunday who won a lacklustre match a few days ago against Eindhoven, Valverde stuck to the winning script, although the team still lacks confidence and the ability to manufacture shots on goal.
The stand-out this weekend for the Catalan squad was Ousmane Dembele, who read the match well, among other good moves firing a nice cross from the right wing to Pique, who headed in the first goal in the 36th minute.
Just three minutes before the end of regulation time, Alena put the icing on the cake with his first La Liga goal, popping the ball over Sergio Asenjo after Lionel Messi - in practically his only action worthy of note in the second period - tapped a marvellous pass to him.
Barca, with several players on the injured list, were quite far off their best play, but the win moves them to the top of the La Liga standings, ahead of Sevilla.
Nevertheless, the team needs to do something to stay at the peak, since it was just their second "W" in the last five games.
Meanwhile, Villarreal has been struggling and is just one spot ahead of the relegation zone, having notched but a single win in their past eight outings.