The Argentinian stole the show once again
David Villa and Nilmar traded goals in the first half and the two teams entered half-time locked in a draw. Ultimately, Barcelona edged the game courtesy of two strikes from Lionel Messi after the break to maintain the pressure on Real Madrid.
The hosts tried to impose their trademark style on the game in the early minutes and occasionally threatened Diego Lopez' goal. The first real chance of the game fell to Lionel Messi, who failed to open the scoring from point-blank range after being left with a free header in the box.
The deadlock was broken in the 22nd minute, when David Villa controlled superbly a pass from Andres Iniesta on the left of the penalty area and slotted coolly past Diego Lopez to score his sixth goal in the league.
Three minutes later Barca had the ball in the net, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. In the following Villareal attack, however, the visitors managed to draw the game level after a sublime effort by Nilmar, who left Carles Puyol flat-footed in his wake before applying a great finish that hit the right post before crawling into the net.
The game certainly benefited from this development as the match was becoming an end-to-end affair. Eric Abidal conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 35th minute, but Giuseppe Rossi saw his low shot saved by Victor Valdes.
The Yellow submarine appealed for a penalty just before half-time after Joan Capdevila was allegedly brought down in the box, but the referee turned the down without hesitation.
Barca went all guns blazing after the break and threatened to take the lead on a couple of occasions after the restart. The visitors seemed unable to repel the constant wave coming from the Catalan juggernaut and it looked increasingly likely that Josep Guardiola's men will score soon.
In the 58th minute Lionel Messi finally managed to breach Villareal's resilient defence to put the Blaugrana infront. The goal came after some breathtaking interplay by the Argentinian and Pedro as Barca managed to neutralise the visitors' backfour with a few simple passes.
The hosts continued to dominate the game after the goal and deservedly double their lead seven minutes from the final whistle when Lionel Messi completed his brace with deft finish from just outside the six-yard box.
The little wizard went close to scoring a third shortly after, but saw a shot from the centre of the box blocked by Mateo Musacchio in what proved to be the final moment of interest for this game.
Following tonight's result, Barcelona are first in the standings before the remaining games from this round, while Villareal retain their third place. The Yellow Submarine's host Valencia in their next league game, while the Blaugrana visit Almeria.