In-form Luciano Vietto hit two second half goals as Villarreal, down to 10 men for the final 10 minutes, cruised to a 3-0 home victory over Deportivo La Coruna to go fifth in La Liga on Sunday.
Former Barcelona youth product Jonathan Dos Santos put Villarreal ahead with his first La Liga goal, knocking in a rebound with 10 minutes gone after a shot by Denis Cheryshev was saved by keeper Fabricio Ramirez.
Villarreal came into the game on the back of a six match winning streak in all competitions and dominated from the start.
Fabricio kept Deportivo in the contest with some smart saves but Vietto finished off their resistance.
The Argentine forward slotted home a Victor Ruiz pass after 68 minutes and then five minutes later was again on target from a Cheryshev assist.
Tomas Pina was dismissed for a rash challenge on Alejandro Bergantinos in the 80th.
Champions Atletico Madrid face Athletic Bilbao later and can get back on track after losing to Villarreal last weekend in a match that left them seven points off Real Madrid at the top of the table.
Second-placed Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Cordoba on Saturday left them a point behind Real, who have played a game less due to playing in the Club World Cup where they won the final against San Lorenzo on Saturday.