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By defeating Villarreal, Barcelona keep pace in La Liga title chase

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal for Barcelona against Villarreal.

Barcelona kept pace with Real Madrid in La Liga this weekend by overcoming Villarreal, 4-1. Don't let the scoreline fool you: this was potentially a tricky game given that Villarreal still had an outside shot at a Champions League place and had won three in a row, including at Atletico Madrid. It was also one of those games that sort of left you wondering what might have been this year. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all got on the scoresheet and while there might not have been a three-goal difference between the two sides, Barca undeniably deserved a win.

Barca don't control their future here: they have to win out and pray that Real Madrid get less than seven points in their final three matches. None of them are gimmes -- Sevilla at home, Malaga and Celta Vigo away -- but then neither are Barcelona's remaining fixtures (a trip to Las Palmas and Eibar at the Camp Nou on the final week of the season).

Still, for all the criticism he has endured from some quarters, Luis Enrique can still end the season on a high note even if his side finish second.

To read more of Marcotti's thoughts on what happened over the previous week, click here.

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