Barcelona return to La Liga action with a clash against Villarreal at Camp Nou this Thursday.
Venue: Camp Nou (Barcelona)
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last seven home games in all competitions (W5, D2).
They have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four La Liga games at home.
They have the second-best attack and defence in the league, having scored 21 goals and conceded four goals.
Villarreal have the best defence in the league, having conceded three goals.
The Yellow Submarines have kept four clean sheets in their last five games in all competitions.
They have conceded more than a goal in their last eight games.
Head to head
Villarreal have won only once in their last 28 meetings with Barcelona. The hosts have 21 wins in that period.
Latest performances in all competitions
Barcelona will look to bounce back from their defeat to Real Madrid in the El Classico when they host Unai Emery’s Villarreal side.
The hosts continued their poor run of form in recent weeks after suffering a 3-1 defeat to their La Liga rivals. Goals from Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo Goes was enough to hand the Catalan side their first defeat in La Liga.
Albeit, the Blaugrana have been ravaged by injuries to key defensive players, head coach Xavi Hernandez has bemoaned his side’s lack of intelligence and focus competitiveness.
With their Champions League hopes slipping away from their grasp, after failing to win any of their two-legged tie with Inter Milan, Xavi Hernandez will be keen to see his team not fall further down the La Liga table after the loss to Real Madrid which opened up a three points lead between them. The former Spanish midfielder will therefore want to see his side take all three points from Unai Emery’s side.
Xavi Hernandez welcomed back summer signing Jules Kounde for the match against Real Madrid, a breath of fresh air considering their defensive frailties in the absence of the French man and his defensive partner Ronald McDonald, who remains sidelined due to injury. The former will now be expected to commandeer the defence when the Blaugrana square up with the Yellow Submarines.
Possible Barcelona starting line-up
Marc Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Jules Kounde, Eric Garcia, Alex Balde; Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong; Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele.
Injured: Ronald Araujo
Villareal will travel to Barcelona in search of their second win in a row. Unai Emery’s side secured a 2-0 victory over Osasuna on Monday night, which ends a winless run dating back to the 4th of September in La Liga.
A brace from Arnaut Danjuma on either side of the half was enough to seal all three points for the Yellow Submarines, who moved up into the seventh position, with 17 points after nine rounds of La Liga football.
Unai Emery will now look to see his boys maintain their form and take all three points from the Blaugrana, a feat they achieved last season in the last game of the league season, with Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez handing the Yellow Submarines an impressive win at Camp Nou.
However, with a slew of summer reinforcements, Barcelona have looked like a better side than the team they faced last season, but, amid an injury crisis at the back, Xavi’s men have conceded eight goals in their last four games in all competitions, more than half the number they conceded before the injury blitz hit them.
Unai Emery will be keen on the prospect of taking on a weakened Barcelona side, but with the win at Camp Nou last season their only victory over the Blaugrana in their last five games, The Yellow Submarines will have to dig deep to emerge with all three points from the Camp Nou.
Possible Villareal starting line-up
Gerónimo Rulli; Aissa Mandi, Raul Albiol, Pau Francisco Torres, Alfonso Pedraza; Yéremi Pino, Daniel Parejo, Manu Morlanes, Alejandro Baena; Giovani Lo Celso;, A. D. Groeneveld
Injured: Francis Coquelin
Doubtful: Gerard Moreno, Juan Foyth
Barcelona 2-0 Villarreal