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Barcelona v Villarreal: Luis Enrique´s side chasing fourth straight win

Barcelona will be seeking a fourth straight La Liga victory when they entertain Villarreal at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Luis Enrique’s side have not lost since a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla on October 3 – their first match without Lionel Messi, who picked up a knee injury against Las Palmas the week before.

Three successive league wins have followed, enabling Barca to keep pace with league leaders Real Madrid, who they only sit second to on goal difference.

Neymar and Luis Suarez have stepped up in the Argentine’s absence, netting 17 times between them since Messi’s withdrawal 10 minutes into the victory over Paco Herrera’s side.

The Brazilian says he partly owes his impressive recent displays to being more comfortable at the club and having settled in Spain.

“[I feel like] I’m at home. My first year was to learn, to get to know everything,” Neymar told beIN Sports.

“The second was better and now I feel very much like I’m at home.

“I’m having a great year, from last season I’m playing in my way, how I played before, and I’m very happy for that.”

Villarreal’s last five trips to Camp Nou in all competitions have ended defeat, but they have been boosted for Sunday’s game with Roberto Soldado available for selection.

The former Tottenham striker received his fifth yellow card of the season against Sevilla, which should have resulted in a suspension, but the decision has been overturned, clearing him to play.

Soldado scored the only goal in Villarreal’s slim victory over Dinamo Minsk in the Europa League on Thursday and wants them to develop momentum and improve off the back of that win.

“We have seen that we have to improve because if we play well, it will be difficult to push through some games,” he said.

“However, it is true that when you win is easier to improve in the next match.”

Bertrand Bailly will miss the game as he serves a ban, while Adrian Lopez (hamstring), Mateo Musacchio (broken leg) and Sergio Asenjo (knee) are all out for Marcelino’s men.

Barca suffered a big blow in the midweek win over BATE as Ivan Rakitic suffered a calf tear which has ruled him out of the clash, also making him a doubt for the encounter with Real Madrid later this month.

The Croat’s absence adds to Luis Enrique’s midfield woes, with Javier Mascherano suspended and Rafinha expected to be out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Fri 6 Nov, 2015
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