Barcelona will be looking to make it six wins in a row when they take on Villarreal on Sunday night. Xavi Hernandez’s men will look to extend their lead to 11 points while second-placed Real Madrid will be away at the Club World Cup. Meanwhile, Villarreal will be looking to win the UEFA Champions League.
The yellow submarine is currently sixth in the Spanish top flight with 31 points from 20 games. They are just four points behind fourth-placed Atlético Madrid and will be keen to upset the league leaders and push for a Champions League spot.
Quique Setien’s men are struggling to keep pace as they have lost their last two league games. They first lost to fifth placed Rayo Vallecano and then lost to bottom side Elche. The Yellow Submarine is the first team to lose to Los Franjiverdes in this edition.
Despite their last two defeats, they are still fighting for a top-four finish, but they cannot afford any more slip-ups. The 3-1 defeat by Elche was a shock result, nobody saw it coming. But they have a chance to bounce back, a win against La Liga’s best can certainly set the pace right.
Villarreal Team News
Villarreal will be without the services of Alfonso Pedraza, Nicolas Jackson, Giovani Lo Celso, and Filip Jorgensen. The lot had also missed the game against Elche last week due to injury.
Apart from them, Quique Setien has nothing else to worry about. He surely has a boost for the clash against Barcelona, as Pau Torres is set to return after missing out against Elche.
The result last time around was a big disappointment for the Yellow Submarine but the manager is still expected to stick to his game plan. Setien is unlikely to shuffle his pack and make any major changes to the XI.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Reina; Foyth, Albiol, Pau Torres, Mojica; Capoue, Parejo, Baena; Chukwueze, Gerard Moreno, Pino
Barcelona Team News
As far as Barcelona are concerned, Ousmane Dembele is out for a while due to a hamstring injury. Joining him on the sidelines is club captain Sergio Busquets, who is dealing with an ankle injury that he picked up against Sevilla.
Xavi Hernandez is likely to stick to his XI and there will be only one change which is a forced one with Busquets out. Gavi will drop into the midfield, while Ansu Fati is expected to start as the left-winger.
The Barcelona manager will go ahead with his trusted 4-3-3 formation. Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be in goal. Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen will be the center-back pairing. Jules Kounde and Jordi Alba will be the full-backs.
Gavi, Pedri, and Frenkie de Jong will be the three in midfield. Goalscoring machine, Robert Lewandowski will lead the attack, with Fati and Raphinha out wide.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Alba; Pedri, de Jong, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
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