Barcelona made rather hard work of their latest La Liga outing, but returned to winning ways after their UEFA Champions League defeat to AC Milan, after running out 2-1 winners at home against Sevilla.
Coming so soon after the Milan match and just three days before a cup tie against Real Madrid, it was always going to be tough for the Barcelona players to focus and commit fully to a league fixture when they were 12 points clear at the top of the table.
Even so, the spirit and will to win from the home players was in evidence as they turned the game around having gone in at the half time break 1-0 behind, thanks to a headed Alberto Botia effort just before the interval. The goal was completely against the run of play, with Barça having dominated the first 45 minutes.
David Villa and Lionel Messi scored early in the second half to put the Catalan side back in the driving seat, and they saw out the game in relative comfort to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Here are six things we learned from the game.
We'll start with the last goal—Messi got it, his 38th of the season.
Even on a day where the No. 10 had very little impact on Barcelona's game, and was off-form in general with his touch and final ball, he still managed to make himself the match-winner as he steered a shot beyond the keeper to put his side 2-1 ahead.
Messi made a few threatening runs in the first half which culminated in free kicks, but having taken three of them himself with no great result to show for it, he wound up winning the points for his side after the break.
A quick pass out wide left to Cristian Tello opened up space in the area to move into, and after receiving the return pass, Messi showed his usual composure and finishing ability to beat Beto.
He wasn't effective vs. Milan, and he had little impact for most of the game against Sevilla, but Messi has shown so often that he can win a game on his own in an instant. This won't be the last time it happens this season; don't bet against him on the next occasion against Milan. Or Madrid.
Barcelona are going through a slight rough patch at present, with several of their players not quite hitting the heights they are capable of.
Of course, a "rough patch" for Barcelona still sees them operate at a capacity far above most other teams, but the dip is noticeable.
Out of all their players, though, the one who seems most immune to the general lowering of standards is Andres Iniesta. The playmaker has altered roles between left side of attack and central attacking midfield, but continues to bring tempo, creativity and verve to the side when others are stuck for inspiration.
Even he wasn't at his absolute best against Sevilla, but was still head and shoulders above most others with his movement, vision and execution.
With Iniesta in something approaching top form, a goal out of nothing is always a possibility for Barcelona, which might come in extremely handy as teams continue to try and defend deep and frustrate them.
Alvaro Negredo didn't start against Barcelona on Saturday, with manager Unai Emery opting to leave him on the bench ahead of a Copa del Rey semifinal second leg against Atletico Madrid to come during the week.
Negredo has frequently suffered with injuries after playing more than one game a week in the past and continues to show an inability at times to cope with regularly playing top-level football.
That might be one reason no other club has taken a big splash in signing him yet—but his miss late in the game, one-on-one with goalkeeper Victor Valdes, might be another.
For an international striker, Negredo doesn't have a great scoring rate.
He has 10 goals this season in 23 La Liga appearances, from 79 shots—a 12.7 percent shot conversion rate. In his last 10 league games he has managed only two goals.
Not great, in all honesty.
Negredo's miss against Valdes, clipping the ball well over the crossbar when coolness and composure was called for, was archetypal of his inability to make it count when the stakes are high.
At 27 years of age he should be approaching his prime; if this season is anything to go by, Negredo should be written off as a player to aid significantly the national team or as a player who can go on to achieve further big success, in Spain or elsewhere.
Alexis Sanchez started the game on the right side of Barcelona's attack, but was unable to get largely involved. The Chilean had a few forays down the flank and tried to be creative inside the penalty area, leaving space out wide for Dani Alves to exploit, but it just wasn't coming off for Alexis.
Jordi Roura made a switch at half time to replace Alexis with Cristian Tello, who operated wide on the left of the attack, leaving Alves to work the entire right side himself.
That switch had the desired effect, opening the final third up far more for Barcelona as Tello kept his position on the edge or just outside of the penalty area, stretching the Sevilla defence.
The equalising goal came from a cross on the right hand side from Alves, while the second followed shortly afterwards—Tello combining well from his position on the left with Leo Messi.
Tello had one or two chances himself to wrap the game up, but didn't manage to hit the target—but his overall contribution was significantly higher than Alexis'.
Come the cup tie during the week against Real Madrid, Tello might have pushed himself ahead of Alexis in the pecking order for now—meaning it might be out of himself and David Villa to play from the left of Messi, with Pedro on the opposite side.
Speaking of David Villa, he did his own chances no harm at all of starting against Real Madrid with a well-taken goal of his own after the break.
Ineffectual and on the periphery of the game cutting in from the left during the first half, Villa switched to his old centre-forward role after the interval, and came up trumps with a fine headed effort from six yards.
Villa playing as an out-and-out striker allowed Messi to rove around in a deeper role, creating and trying to link up play in the centre without sacrificing Barcelona's striking presence in a crowded penalty area.
The No. 7 isn't a regular starter in Barcelona's attack, but Villa sure takes his chances when he's handed them.
From nine starts and eight sub appearances in the league this season, Villa has scored seven goals from just 17 attempts. That's a 41.2 percent conversion rate.
Chew on that, Negredo fans.
AC Milan, Sevilla, Real Madrid.
This game, sandwiched between those two huge other ones, was always going to be the match of least importance where some stars were given an opportunity to take a breather and recharge the batteries ahead of a potentially explosive Copa del Rey semifinal second leg against Real.
The first leg ended 1-1 in Madrid with Cesc Fabregas and Raphael Varane scoring the goals.
Cesc himself was rested this time against Sevilla, as were Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba and Pedro. Xavi and Sergio Busquets also didn't start the game, though both made entrances from the subs' bench in the second half, with Iniesta making way for his own brief respite.
With Real Madrid having rested a few players of their own in Saturday's victory at Deportivo La Coruña, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Khedira who all came off the bench, both squads should be fit, rested and ready to put on a spectacular show to try and reach the Copa del Rey final.
All eyes will be on the Camp Nou once more on Tuesday for yet another installment of El Clasico.
Statistical data taken from WhoScored.com