03 December 2018
After a 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, Barcelona will welcome Villarreal to the Camp Nou looking to get their fourth successive triumph over the team from the Castellon province.
Despite Barcelona’s huge oscillations in from over the past few weeks, the Blaugrana sit second in La Liga table with a 1-point deficit to the leaders Sevilla. The reigning Spanish champions have won just two out of their previous five competitive games, losing 4-3 to Betis at home in the process. Having already conceded 19 goals after the opening 13 La Liga matches, the Catalans have allowed more goals than any other team in top five. Furthermore, Ernesto Valverde’s players have kept a clean sheet just two times this campaign, which is the third-worst record in the Spanish top tier. However, Messi and his fellow teammates have so far managed to annul backline’s poor performances, as Barca remain the only Spanish team to score a minimum of one goal in every single match since the start of the season. Having notched a minimum of two goals in eight league matches until now, only Sevilla match Barcelona’s impressive goalscoring run.
On the other hand, the visitors are struggling to find the right balance this season, as they sit 16th in the table with a record of three wins, five draws, and five losses. Although they are unbeaten in the last three league matches, the Yellow Submarine have pulled off just one triumph in their previous seven La Liga clashes, losing three times while being held to three draws in the process. After two straight road wins over Leganes and Athletic Bilbao, Javier Calleja’s men have failed to wrap up all three points in the next three away meetings, losing twice in a row before playing out a 2-2 draw with Rayo Vallecano. Only five teams have scored fewer goals than Villarreal this season, as the Castellon-based outfit bagged just 13 goals so far. Meanwhile, Villarreal have managed to keep a clean sheet four times in their opening 13 La Liga games, conceding 14 goals so far at an average of 1.08 goals per match.
Provisional line-up – Barcelona:
Gk: Marc-Andre ter Stegen Defense: Pique – Umtiti – Semedo – Alba Midfield: Sergio Busquets – Rakitic – Vidal Attack: Messi – Coutinho – Malcom
Provisional line-up – Villarreal:
Gk: Asenjo Defense: Victor Ruiz – Funes Mori – Gaspar – Pedraza Midfield: Cazorla – Manu Trigueros – Fornals – Caseres Attack: Chukwueze – Gerard Moreno
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