MX23RW : Friday, April 5 16:33:00| >> :600:339045:339045:
Apr 2, 2019 at 8.30pm UK at ​Estadio de la Cerámica (Villarreal)
Attendance: 19,515
Chukwueze (23'), Toko Ekambi (50'), Iborra (62'), Bacca (80')
Gonzalez (86')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Coutinho (12'), Malcom (16'), Messi (90'), Suarez (90')

Preview: Villarreal vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Barcelona's trip to Villarreal in La Liga.

Barcelona will be looking to continue their charge towards the La Liga title when they make the trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica to face Villarreal on Tuesday night.

Ernesto Valverde's side made it six straight league wins by beating Espanyol at the weekend and remain 10 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.


Santi Cazorla celebrates scoring for Villarreal against Real Madrid on January 3, 2019.© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a very disappointing campaign - domestically at least - for Villarreal. Indeed, a total of 29 points from their 29 matches has left them in 17th position in the table, just one point clear of 18th-placed Celta Vigo, who beat them at the weekend.

Six wins, 11 draws and 12 defeats - that is how Villarreal have performed in the league this term. There is absolutely no question that they have underperformed in Spain's top flight during the 2018-19 campaign, but it would still be a huge surprise if they did not ultimately survive.

The Yellow Submarine have not finished lower than sixth in La Liga since returning to the top flight at the end of the 2012-13 season. Indeed, they have posted finishes of fourth, fifth and fifth in their last three campaigns, but are absolutely nowhere near a European place this term.

Javier Calleja's side are still in the Europa League, however, and will face Valencia in the quarter-finals of the competition later this month. There could still be a route into Europe for the club next season, but that scenario would rely on them winning the Europa League.

Talent-wise, Villarreal are a top-six team. The likes of Carlos Bacca, Gerard Moreno and Pablo Fornals have found it difficult to show consistency this season, however, which has left them in a poor spot in the table.

Their home form has also been very disappointing this season, winning just three of their 15 league matches in front of their own supporters. Considering that Barca have the best away record in La Liga this term, the omens are not exactly terrific for Villarreal ahead of Tuesday's match.

The Yellow Submarine have not actually beaten Barca in the league since March 2008, meanwhile, losing each of the last four. It is difficult to imagine Calleja's side picking up all three points when the pair lock horns this week, but surprise results do tend to occur at this stage of the season.

Recent form: WLLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWL


Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Real Betis on March 17, 2019© Reuters

Two late goals from Lionel Messi saw Barca beat Espanyol in the league at the weekend to move onto 69 points. Both Atletico and Real Madrid also won in the latest round of fixtures, but Barca still have a 10-point lead at the top of the table, which looks insurmountable at this stage.

A record of 21 wins, six draws and two defeats from 29 league matches is very strong, while they are comfortably the highest scorers in the division with 75. To put that number into context, Atletico have managed 43 goals, while Real Madrid have struck 52 in the same number of games.

Messi has now managed 31 goals in 27 league appearances this season, while Luis Suarez has 18. A number of Barca players have had good campaigns, but Messi has once again been the star of the show.

The Catalan outfit are very much on course for a domestic double as they will face Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey, but the Champions League is the trophy that the club really wants this season.

Valverde's side will travel to Manchester United for the first leg of their quarter-final on April 10, before welcoming the English giants to Camp Nou for the return fixture on April 16. It should be a fascinating battle between the two teams, but Barca will certainly start as the favourites.

In terms of what is ahead, Barca will host Atletico in their next league game after this one, before travelling to Manchester. Valverde's team will then travel to struggling Huesca ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-eight tie.

Discounting the Catalan Super Cup last month, the Spanish champions have not lost since a 2-0 defeat against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey at the end of January, which meant little in the grand scheme of things.

Villarreal certainly have the quality to harm Barca on Tuesday night, but the away side's supporters will be expecting to secure another three points as they move closer to securing the title.

Recent form: WWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWWW

Team News

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Real Madrid's Casemiro in the Copa del Rey on February 27, 2019© Reuters

Villarreal have a number of injury concerns ahead of the match and late calls will be made on the likes of Bruno Soriano, Javi Fuego, Jaume Costa and Moreno.

Bacca came off the bench in the defeat to Celta at the weekend and could now start, with Calleja potentially taking the chance to rest leading scorer Karl Toko Ekambi.

As for Barca, Ousmane Dembele will again be on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, but Valverde has no fresh injury concerns from the win over Villarreal.

There is every chance that the head coach could make changes, however, ahead of a busy run of matches.

Messi could well be rested - or at least left on the bench - with Malcom, Carles Alena and Arturo Vidal amongst those hoping to earn starting roles.

Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti could also come into the back four against the Yellow Submarine.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Ruiz, Gonzalez, Mario; Alfonso, Cazorla, Morlanes, Quintilla, Iborra, Chukwueze; Bacca

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Rakitic; Malcom, L Suarez, Coutinho

Head To Head

Barca recorded a 2-0 victory when the pair met at Camp Nou earlier this season, while they also ran out 2-0 winners in the reverse league fixture last term.

Villarreal, as mentioned, have not beaten Barca since March 2008, but they did hold the Catalan giants to back-to-back home draws in March 2016 and January 2017.

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We say: Villarreal 0-2 Barcelona

Villarreal are capable of harming Barca on Tuesday night, but the Spanish champions have been so impressive in recent weeks and should collect another three points.

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Who will win Tuesday's clash between Villarreal and Barcelona?

Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi grabs the ball after scoring against Valencia in La Liga on February 2, 2019
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