Luis Enrique’s team will return to La Liga action, under pressure to pick up a result as they travel to El Madrigal to take on high-flying Villarreal CF. It is their annual trip down the coast, just past the town of Castellon which often turns out to be one of the toughest fixtures of the season and this year is unlikely to be an exception. The 18 man Barcelona squad has a few regular names missing from the usual team-sheet.
The Barcelona team is looking to bounce back from their defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Thursday in the Copa Del Rey. The Catalonians lost 2-1 against a stubborn and spirited Bilbao who played the last 15 minutes of the game with 9 men.
The trip to Villareal will however not feature Ivan Rakitic, Jesper Cillessen, Aleix Vidal and Jeremy Mathieu. The main reason for the drop from the squad is “technical reasons” and injuries.
In midfield, there is talk that Denis Suarez may be handed a later birthday present in the form of a start against his former club but it seems Andre Gomes will be preferred over Suarez. Though the front trio consists of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi will continue in attack.
Here are the two predictable starting line-up’s :
Barcelona (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Gomes, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Villarreal (4-2-2-2): Asenjo; Mario, Ruiz, Musacchio, Costa; Trigueros, dos Santos; Soriano, Samu; Sansone, Pato
During the last meeting, goals from Ivan Rakitic and Neymar appeared to secure a valuable three points for Barca, but Villarreal fought back in the second-half and were able to claim a share of the spoils after Jeremy Mathieu’s own-goal.
Match Prediction :
Villarreal 1-3 Barcelona