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Date: Sunday, Dec. 10
Start time: 2:45 p.m. ET
Location: Villareal, Spain
Stadium: Estadio de la Ceramica
Barcelona will face a tricky challenge during Sunday’s La Liga action, as Villarreal will play host to the Blaugrana at the Estadio de la Ceramica―better known as El Madrigal.
The Yellow Submarine entered Week 15 of the season in sixth place in the standings but have been on a poor run of form of late, losing their last two matches in La Liga. They’ve won three of their last four home outings, however, and have an excellent reputation in front of their own fans.
With all the injuries on the backline this is a tricky away game for Barcelona as they look to maintain their distance on Valencia as well as Real Madrid. Unfortunately for the hosts, they also have a number of key injuries. Ultimately Barcelona’s superior attacking talent should prove decisive, look for the Catalans to get the away win.
Entering Sunday’s game at Villarreal Barcelona are top of La Liga by five points versus Valencia and eight points ahead of their fierce rivals Real Madrid. There are a number of significant injuries among the blaugrana, most notably to Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti. Thomas Vermaelen will continue to deputize at center-back as both Mascherano and Umtiti are doubtful.
Ernesto Valverde rested a number of players during the midweek Champions League game at Sporting Lisbon, including Lionel Messi, who only played in the second half.
Villarreal are in sixth place in La Liga and despite their ability to consistently challenge for a Champions League spot over the last few years, the Yellow Submarine have had little success against Barcelona, winless in their last 16 overall and in their last eight at home at Estadio de la Ceramica (formerly El Madrigal).
Andres Fernandez, Denis Cheryshev and Nicola Sansone are all unavailable due to injuries, while Carlos Bacca, Ruben Semedo, Samu Castillejo and Bruno Soriano are doubtful.