Villarreal take on Barcelona at the El Madrigal on Sunday, hoping to arrest the poor run of results that has seen them win just one league fixture in their last five.

 

Villarreal have been in fine form this season, with the Yellow Submarines sitting comfortably in the fourth and final Champions League spot on the Spanish league table. At one point, Marcelino Toral’s men were just two points behind Real Madrid, following an incredible run of 13 games in the league without defeat.

Since then, however, they have failed to win any of their games, allowing fifth-placed Sevilla to close the gap between the two clubs to just five points with nine matches still to go in the season.

Barcelona, on the other hand, have marched on with victory after victory, and are currently on a 12-match winning streak in the Spanish top flight. Unless there is a miracle, Luis Enrique’s men will win yet another league title, but the Spaniard will not want to lose momentum in the business end of the season with careless performances and bad results.

The Catalans beat Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, and will be hoping to round off the week in style with a victory at El Madrigal.

Lineups

Villarreal

Predicted Starting XI (4-4-2): Areola; Bailly, Ruiz, Bonero, Mario; Suarez, Bruno, Pina, Castillejo; Soldado, Adrian

football formations

Barcelona

Predicted Starting XI (4-3-3): Bravo; Alba, Pique, Mascherano, Alves; Rakitic, Busquets, Turan; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

football formations

Key Stats

  • Barcelona are on a 38-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
  • The Catalans have won their last 12 games in La Liga.
  • Barcelona have beaten Villarreal in each of their last 7 games in all competitions.
  • Luis Enrique’s men have been winning at half time (as well as full time) in each of their last 5 away games in La Liga.
  • They have scored at least 3 goals in each of their last 4 games against Villarreal in all competitions.

Prediction

Villarreal 1-1 Barcelona

Given the drop in Villarreal’s form of late and Barcelona’s surge, it would take a brave man to predict anything but a victory for the Catalans.

However, the tired legs from their fixture against Arsenal in midweek, plus the determination of the Villarreal players to arrest their poor run of results, will mean that Barcelona may not come way with all three points from El Madrigal.

Odds (Bet365.com)

  • Villarreal win: 8.50
  • Draw: 5.00
  • Barcelona win: 1.36

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