Lionel Messi was the star again, scoring two goals in a convincing 5-1 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday evening, but it was the goalscoring return of David Villa that really delighted the home fans.
The substitute stroked the ball home left-footed to add some gloss to a routine win for new coach Tito Vilanova and mark his own comeback from the broken leg that caused him to miss Euro 2012.
Carles Puyol had given Barca an early lead with a thumping header from a Xavi corner before Gonzalo Castro equalised inside 10 minutes.
Messi added a quickfire double to restore the lead and when Pedro finished off an excellent move to make it four before half-time it was all over bar Villa’s emotional goal late on.
It was a tougher night for Jose Mourinho’s defending champions in the Spanish capital as they hosted Valencia.
Led by new coach Mauricio Pellegrino, Los Che proved a tough nut to crack despite Gonzalo Higuain giving Real the lead after 10 minutes.
Jonas equalised with a header just before the break and despite heavy pressure, Valencia held out for a hard-earned point in the Bernabeu.
Indeed, Valencia could have nicked a win if Roberto Soldado’s cool finish had not been wrongfully ruled out for offside in the second half.
But perhaps the game of the day came at the San Mames as Athletic Bilbao were beaten 5-3 by Real Betis in an astonishing encounter.
The Basque side looked out of it at the interval with goals from Ruben Castro, Jorge Molina and Benat giving the visitors a three-goal lead before half-time.
But an Oscar de Marcos goal pulled one back before two Mikel San Jose headers levelled things up and the Athletic fans bayed for more.
And yet, there was a sting in the tail as late goals from Pozuelo and a second from Molina gave Betis a memorable win against Marcelo Bielsa’s side.