Villarreal vs Barcelona: Live streaming info, team news, match predictions, squad, date and time
Barcelona will step into El Madrigal with their tails up. A chance to extend their lead at the top of the La Liga table to 11 points has presented itself as challengers Atletico Madrid have dropped the ball against Sporting Gijon, having lost to their less fancied opponents. Barcelona will also look to extend their unbeaten run to 39 across all competitions with Luis Enrique’s men in celestial form at the moment. On the other hand, Villarreal will look to break their recent slump in form in La Liga after having dumped Bayer Leverkusen out of the Europa League midweek. Having conceded the second fewest goals in La Liga, Villarreal will look to do the unthinkable, contain Barcelona’s front line.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Channel: Sony ESPN
Date and Time: 20th March, 2016; 8:30 P.M. IST
Venue: El Madrigal
Marcelino will continue to miss defenders Mateo Musacchio and Jaume Costa in his starting 11 as Daniele Bonera and Eric Bailly look set to continue in their place. Samu Castillejo might be a doubt having limped off the field against Leverkeusen while Jonathan Dos Santos remain out as well. Tomas Pina might replace Trigueros in midfield in a game in which Villarreal could do with some extra steel in the middle of the park. Alphonse Areola could be a doubt for the game through injury to his knee.
Barcelona are set to field a full strength team with Javier Mascherano back from suspension in the league and Gerard Pique set to start alongside him having had to sit out the game against Arsenal through suspension himself. Both Dani Alves and Jordi Alba are expected to be fielded with one of Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto or Andres Iniesta set to start alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. The Barcelona forward line will of course remain intact.
You cannot fault Luis Enrique’s men right now for anything wrong. They continue to get every result that is asked of them. Unbeaten in every competition for 38 games and 106 goals between a forward trio is the sort of form you cannot argue with. There are few teams who can stand up to them at the moment considering they just brushed a team like Arsenal aside as if they didn’t really count for much. Barcelona are inimitable the way they are playing right now.
Last 5 Matches: W-W-W-W-W (Last Match: Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal)
Marcelino’s men aren’t really in top form, their form guide is quite indifferent to their plight with wins, losses and draws there in equal measure. However, they have been doing well this season as they enter the game rooted at fourth place which is the last Champions League spot from La Liga. On the back of a defeat against Sevilla last weekend and a draw against Bayer Leverkeusen midweek, Villarreal would want to hold on for a result and not lose much of their 5 point lead over Sevilla in the race for the final Champions League spot.
Last 5 Matches: D-L-W-L-D ( Last Match: Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Villarreal)
Barcelona (4-3-3): Bravo; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba; Turan, Rakitic, Busquets; Neymar, Suarez, Messi
Villarreal(4-4-2): Areola; Mario, Bailly, Ruiz, Bonera; Suarez, Bruno, Trigueros, Pina; Soldado, Bakambu
- Neymar, Messi, and Suarez have scored 106 goals between them this season.
- Barcelona have scored 3 goals or more in their last four meetings with Villarreal across all competitions.
- Barcelona have won their last 7 matches against Villarreal.
- Villarreal have won none of their last 13 meetings with Barcelona
Denis Suarez vs Dani Alves
Denis Suarez has a lot of eyes on him this season, not in the least from the upper echelons of recruitment staff of the team he is set to face this weekend. Denis Suarez transferred from Barcelona with a well-publicized buyback clause inserted into the deal held by Villarreal.
It is expected that Denis Suarez will audition for a return to Barcelona on the terms of this clause based on the performance he puts in on the night. He will have to be at his best up against a fullback of the caliber of Dani Alves and it seems that Suarez must put in his absolute best on the night to help his team secure a point or three from this game.
Cedric Bakambu vs Gerard Pique
Cedric Bakambu has 16 goals across all competitions this season from 36 appearances for Villarreal this season. His partnership with Roberto Soldado has helped the Yellow Submarines flourish in the La Liga this season. Expected to have a rush of suitors lining up for his services in the summer, the striker with Congolese origins holds the key to Villarreal managing anything from the game.
Battling him will be Gerard Pique who has been known to do the odd from doing the excellent in games at times. One can safely surmise that in a game of such importance to Villarreal, Bakambu, who has a knack of scoring not just freely but at important moments, will be waiting for Pique to make one mistake to take advantage of it. This will be an important battle.
It’s impossible to not predict a Barcelona win right now. Even the Villarreal fans must be ruefully predicting one.
Villarreal 0-3 Barcelona
Betting Odds (bet365)
Villarreal win: 8/1
Barcelona win: 2/7
Draw: 19/4Published 20 Mar 2016, 12:07 IST