Friday, August 7, 2020

Prediction: Villarreal vs Barcelona

Verdict: Villarreal to win – yes

Best Odds: 10/3

Bookmaker: 888sport

FC Barcelona keep falling in the standings and now sit behind Real Madrid in the title race. Los Blaugranas can’t give them more ground if they want to keep their title chances alive, and need to get back to their winning ways Sunday at Villarreal. The hosts, however, are undefeated since the league re-started last month and won’t be an easy opponent. This match will kick off Sunday at 21:00 GMT.

Villarreal

Villarreal have been one of the better teams in LaLiga since the competition restarted in mid-June, as El Submarino Amarillo have gone W5, D1 in their first six league outings. This has pushed them to fifth place in the standings with only five matches left in the competition. In fact, Villarreal are just three points behind Sevilla in the race for the final 2020-21 UEFA Champions League berth. Clinching that spot would be a huge victory for a Villarreal side that was sitting near the middle of the standings a few matches before the league got suspended in March. One of the team’s biggest strengths over the last few weeks has been their defensive play, as Villarreal have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five contests. The one time they conceded was during their 2-2 draw against Sevilla. Can they deliver another stout defensive performance, this time against Barcelona?

Team News

Ramiro Guerra (knee) and Ramiro Funes Mori (Achilles) have been ruled out for this game.

Sofian Chakla (undisclosed) and Vicente Iborra (muscle) are doubtful. Both players will be game-time decisions for the coaching staff.

FC Barcelona

Things are not quiet at Barcelona at the moment. Los Blaugranas are coming off a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid after conceding two penalties to Saul Niguez and, as a result, now Quique Setien’s men have fallen four points behind Real Madrid in the title race. In fact, Los Merengues will play before Barcelona on Sunday so this differential could easily be seven points by the time Barca take the pitch in Estadio De La Ceramica. Barcelona have drawn three of their last four league matches, including two disappointing draws against Celta de Vigo and Sevilla. They could’ve easily lost against Celta, but Nolito missed a sitter on stoppage time that could’ve changed the course of the game. The lone thing that is clear is that Barcelona are not playing at a high level right now. They need to turn things around before it’s too late.

Team News

Ousmane Dembele (thigh) and Frenkie de Jong (calf) are ruled out. So it Jean-Clair Todibo, who returned from his loan spell at Schalke 04 but can’t play for Los Blaugranas.

Samuel Umtiti (knee) has been listed as doubtful. If he misses this game, then Barca will be incredibly thin when it comes to their defensive depth.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Villarreal have looked excellent defensively of late. They have conceded just two goals while keeping four clean sheets in their last five Liga matches.
  • That record will be put to test against Barcelona, though. Los Blaugranas have the second-best attack in the league with 74 goals.
  • Villarreal will be confident about their chances since they’re playing at home. They have lost just one of their last five games at Estadio De La Ceramica (W3, D1, L1).
  • Despite their struggles, Barcelona have lost just one of their last five away Liga matches (W2, D2, L1).
  • Barcelona are undefeated in their last 23 H2H matches against Villarreal in all competitions (W17, D6).

Conclusion

Barca are undefeated in their last 23 matches against Villarreal. However, El Submarino Amarillo are scorching hot of late while Barcelona can’t seem to figure things out against lesser rivals.

Villarreal could pull the upset and leave the three points at home in this contest.

Verdict: Villarreal to win – yes

Best Odds: 10/3

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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