Oriol Romeu – 6
Started off a bit slow, being beaten by a backside run from Sørloth that forced a great save from ter Stegen. However, he quickly improved. He was solid defensively, as always, and sprung a few very nice passes. He also tried a couple of long-range shots, which are always good to keep the defense off balance. He did struggle to keep possession at times, but overall a nice game from him.
Frenkie de Jong – 8
Frenkie was, as usual, everywhere. He started off in a double pivot with Romeu, where he would constantly push up and drive the ball forward. He very early on lofted a great pass to Gündoğan, who couldn’t quite control it. His movement was good, always giving his teammates a passing angle. He exploited space beautifully to score the second goal, even if the bounce was a bit lucky. In the second half, he played as a single pivot when Romeu subbed off and did quite well there too. Overall, a great start to the season for Frenkie as well.
Gavi – 8
Gavi was his usual feisty self. Defensively, as always, a demon. He recovered quite a few balls, and on other occasions, forced Villareal to play long instead of keeping possession. With the ball, he circulated well and popped into the open space quite a bit. He also scored the first goal, off an unexpected header. The young Andalusian truly is an important part of this squad, in ways some don’t appreciate.
Gündoğan – 7
The German grew into the game as time went on, after starting quietly. Apart from anything else, Gündoğan oozes smarts and class, always available to release pressure and maintain possession. But it wasn’t all good, as he didn’t do much going forward, and also struggled defensively in this one.
Fermín López – 7
Came on in the 86th minute. He didn’t play much, but he looked at home out there. He was sharp on the ball, passing it quickly. While he didn’t have a lot of time, what he showed was very interesting. Perhaps Xavi should give him some more run this season.