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Nov 27, 2021 at 8pm UK
Chukwueze (76')
Pino (26'), Raba (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
de Jong (48'), Depay (88'), Coutinho (90+4' pen.)
Alba (26'), Pique (44')

Preview: Villarreal vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Villarreal vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Villarreal and Barcelona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Barcelona will be looking to make it back-to-back La Liga wins under new head coach Xavi when they travel to Estadio de la Ceramica on Saturday to take on Villarreal.

The Catalan giants are currently seventh in La Liga, 10 points off leaders Real Madrid, while Villarreal occupy 12th, four points behind their opponents this weekend.

Match preview

Villarreal have won three, drawn seven and lost three of their 13 league matches this season to collect 16 points and sit down in 12th position in the table, which is certainly disappointing considering the strength of their squad.

The Yellow Submarine have actually only won one of their last six in the league, which came at home to Getafe on November 7, while they shared the points in a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo last weekend.

Unai Emery's side will also enter this match off the back of a disappointing result in the Champions League, losing 2-0 at home to Manchester United on Tuesday, meaning that they need to pick up a positive result against Atalanta BC in their final group match to advance to the round of 16.

Villarreal have three games before that key trip to Atalanta, though, taking on Barcelona and Sevilla in the league, in addition to travelling to Victoria FC in the Copa del Rey.

The Yellow Submarine will be bidding to beat Barcelona in the league for the first time since March 2008, while the Catalan outfit have won the last four La Liga meetings between the two sides.

Barcelona also have work to do in the Champions League, with Tuesday's goalless draw at home to Benfica leaving them in second spot in Group E, two points clear of third-placed Benfica ahead of a trip to already-qualified Bayern Munich on December 8.

Xavi did manage to deliver a victory in his first league match in charge last weekend, though, with the Catalan outfit running out 1-0 winners over Espanyol courtesy of a penalty from Memphis Depay.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough season to date for Barcelona, who sit seventh in the table, 10 points behind division leaders Real Madrid.

The Catalan side are only six points off fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, though, and the club are planning to be active during the January transfer window despite their financial problems.

Blaugrana, who are unbeaten against Villarreal in their last 26 matches in all competitions, will be looking to boost confidence in the camp with back-to-back league successes over Villarreal and Real Betis ahead of the trip to Allianz Arena to face the German champions.

Villarreal La Liga form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Barcelona La Liga form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W

Barcelona form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Team News

Villarreal were again missing key forward Gerard Moreno against Man United due to a hamstring problem, and the Spain international is unlikely to recover in time for this contest.

Head coach Emery is expected to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes to his side, but there will certainly be some alterations, with Alfonso Pedraza, Francis Coquelin and Boulaye Dia in line to feature.

The Yellow Submarine are likely to switch to a 4-3-3 formation, meanwhile, which would allow Arnaut Danjuma to operate in a wider position, with Yeremi Pino on the opposite side.

As for Barcelona, Sergi Roberto, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Sergio Aguero and Martin Braithwaite are all still unavailable, while Ronald Araujo is a doubt, having been forced off late against Benfica.

Oscar Mingueza could return to the team at right-back, while Ousmane Dembele is in contention for a start, having made his return from a hamstring injury off the bench against Benfica.

Nico Gonzalez and Gavi are both expected to be in the starting side, meaning that the latter could join Memphis and Dembele in an advanced area on Saturday night.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Parejo, Coquelin, Capoue; Pino, Dia, Danjuma

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Pique, Garcia, Alba; Nico, Busquets, De Jong; Dembele, Memphis, Gavi

We say: Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona

Villarreal will be desperate to bounce back from the disappointment of the Man United result, and the Yellow Submarine have proved difficult to beat in La Liga this season. That said, Barcelona's record against Villarreal is so impressive, and we have a feeling that the Catalan outfit will shade a close contest.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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