Villarreal vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as the Catalan giants head to the Ceramica.
|Date||Sunday 12th February 2023|
Villarreal vs Barcelona Preview
The Sunday action in LaLiga concludes at the Ceramica with what could be a cracker between Villarreal and Barcelona. Quique Setien comes up against his former club for the first time since his bitter departure from Barcelona on the back of their embarrassing 8-2 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich.
Setien isn’t exactly enjoying a great time of it at Villarreal either though following on from back-to-back league defeats against Rayo Vallecano and rock bottom Elche. The one positive for Villarreal fans heading into this match may come in the knowledge that their best showing since Setien’s appointment did come in the home game against Real Madrid which resulted in a 2-1 Villarreal win in early January.
A fresh injury to Gerard Moreno this week increases their problems and may give Jose Luis Morales a rare start here. The former Levante man does have a track record of scoring goals against the big clubs though and will be looking to add another one to his collection here while Villarreal should at least be slightly better defensively this week with Pau Torres available.
As for Barcelona, this is an opportunity for them to open up an 11 point advantage on Real Madrid who are currently at the Club World Cup. They’ve recorded 5 straight league wins heading into this match and if anything look to be improving with a clearer structure and idea of how they want to play than was evident earlier in the season. The Catalans were certainly very impressive in the 2nd Half against Sevilla last weekend as they eased to a 3-0 win.
There will be something of a reshuffle here though with Sergio Busquets out injured until the end of February. Frenkie de Jong is likely to drop into the holding role as a result with Franck Kessie likely to come in. Xavi does also have the option of bringing Gavi back into a more orthodox midfield role whilst playing either Ansu Fati or Ferran Torres on the flank, but neither has truly convinced this season.
Team News & Possible Lineups
|INJURED||Pedraza, Lo Celso, Jackson|
Possible XI: Reina – Moreno, Torres, Albiol, Foyth – Capoue, Parejo, Baena – Pino, Morales, Chukwueze (4-3-3)
Coach: Quique Setien
Possible XI: Ter Stegen – Balde, Christensen, Araujo, Kounde – Kessie, De Jong, Pedri – Gavi, Lewandowski, Raphinha (4-3-3)
Score Prediction: Villarreal 2-2 Barcelona
Both sides look to dominate possession and seek to control games so it’ll be an interesting battle here to see who can do that most effectively. Villarreal have looked better in tougher matches though and may be happy to play a team that will look to play on the front foot so this could be an enjoyable, open game and we ought to see a few goals with Busquets’ calming influence likely to be missed by the visitors.
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