Barcelona must put the controversy surrounding the European Super League sham to one side and concentrate on the La Liga title race. The Catalan giants face a tough task in winning back the trust and respect of the footballing family in Spain and beyond, while they also face a tough task away to Villarreal on Sunday.
Where and when: Estadio de la Ceramica – 25 April, kick-off 15:15
Where you can see Villarreal vs. Barcelona: Premier Sports, Bet365 live streaming
Last time: Ansu Fati scored an early brace, with Lionel Messi and a Pau Torres own goal putting Barcelona 4-0 up at the break when the teams met at the Nou Camp in September. The second half was a much quieter affair, with no more goals.
Villarreal v Barcelona Predictions and Preview
‘Mes que un club’? Barcelona have certainly lived up to their famous motto over the course of the last week, but in the worst way possible. The Blaugrana have shown themselves to be just as greedy as the rest of the clubs in the ‘dirty dozen’ and little more than a self-serving business enterprise, but thoughts must turn to matters on the pitch on Sunday.
Villarreal have an extra day to plan and prepare for this game, with their midweek trip to Alaves on Wednesday and Barcelona’s home game against Getafe on Thursday. That may help to even things up a little bit from the last time these teams met, as well as over the years.
Barca are unbeaten in their last 25 matches against Villarreal in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, which they lifted last weekend courtesy of a 4-0 drubbing of Athletic Bilbao. That certainly put a smile on the faces of those at the club, and not least Messi, although those happy expressions have been replaced by frowns since.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Barcelona to win and BTTS
Barcelona to win 4-1
Barcelona to win and over 4.5 goals
Villarreal are one of the clubs trying to break into the top four, although there’s a sizeable gap between the Yellow Submarine and the Champions League places. Unai Emery’s side have a great chance of finishing in the Europa League places once more though, with Villarreal only a few days out from their semi-final first leg against Arsenal in that competition.
It’s a huge week or two for Emery, taking on both his former club in Europe and Barca here, two members of that breakaway 12. There’ll be plenty of neutrals rooting for El Submarino Amarillo on Sunday, but the home team are the 15/4 underdogs for the win.
Villarreal won eight of their nine fixtures prior to Wednesday, one more than Barca over the same period, including a 5-1 destruction of Levante last weekend. The Blaugrana faced stiffer competition on the European front though, and despite losing to Real Madrid the other week, the visitors have been in strong form of late.
The Clasico defeat ended Barca’s 19-match unbeaten run in La Liga. That period saw the Catalans thrust themselves back into the title picture though, and they are the 3/4 favourites for the win here with William Hill. The draw is priced at 16/5.
One to watch for Villarreal: Gerard Moreno reached the 20-goal mark in La Liga with his strike against Levante last weekend, his 10th goal in eight appearances in all competitions. The Spanish forward is available at 13/2 to open the scoring on Sunday.
One to watch for Barcelona: Lionel Messi is the 13/5 favourite to break the deadlock. The Argentine maestro scored a stunning goal in the Copa del Rey final, with his brace in that game taking him to 31 for the season in all competitions.
Long shot: This has been a high-scoring fixture over recent years, with 35 goals in the last eight meetings between the clubs. Barca have scored 27 of those, including exactly four in half of them. Barca also netted four last weekend, with a 4-1 away win priced at 28/1 in these Villarreal v Barcelona tips. Those odds rise to 93/1 with Messi scoring first.