Barcelona headed into the Christmas break with a 10-point lead thanks to its 2-1 win at Villarreal on Sunday. The Catalan team came from behind to win on
goals by Mali midfielder Seydou Keita
and Frenchman Thierry Henry
. Its form is such that even a red card to defender
with 15 minutes to play didn't stop Barcelona.
"It is comforting to see the way the players are performing but nothing has
been decided yet," said Barca coach Pep Guardiola
. "The game was difficult as we expected but we had luck on our side. I think that even with 10 men
we were too impetuous and there were moments when Xavi
and [Dani] Alves
were too far forward and we were caught out. We
have to know how to manage these types of matches even though it is difficult for a coach to get players to stay back." Cani
Villarreal the lead on a chip over Victor Valdes
, but the Yellow Submarine's lead was short-lived. Jozy Altidore
not suit up for Villarreal, which dropped to sixth lace with the loss.
Sevilla, which tied struggling Real Mallorca, 0-0, away, moved into second place with 31 points.
Atletico Madrid is third after winning, 3-2, at Espanyol on Saturday.
Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Valencia left the defending champion in fifth place ahead of Villarreal on goal
difference. Valencia fell to fourth behind Atletico on goal difference.