The fans at El Madrigal should witness a great game between two attack-minded teams and I am confident Villarreal won’t hold back from attacking their opponents just because they are called Barcelona. The Catalans are the favourites here but they will not have an easy job against the Yellow Submarine.
Villarreal climbed to third
Villarreal have really raised their stature during the last few years and they have managed to stay just behind Barcelona and Real ever since they reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2006. The team have been doing pretty well this season under Juan Carlos Garrido as they continue to nurture slick passing style that has brought them a big army of admirers around the globe. The Yellow Submarine proved their credentials by recording a double win over excellent Bayer Leverkusen side to reach the Europa League quarter-finals, while the narrow victory at San Mames saw them dislodge Valencia from the third place in La Liga standings. The players are now full of confidence and very motivated to prove their quality against the best side in the world, but even though a good result from this game could make a real difference to their La Liga campaign, the hosts are highly unlikely to discard their attacking style against Barcelona.
The international break allowed Marcos Senna and Nilmar to recover from their respective injuries, meaning that both players will be in contention for this game, while Joan Capdevilla returns to the side after being rested against Bilbao.
Messi fit to play
Barcelona continue to impress on both domestic and European stage, with the Catalans still in the running for three major trophies. Pep Guardiola’s team managed to eliminate Arsenal despite the unlucky defeat at the Emirates, while the La Liga slip up against Sevilla didn’t prove all that costly as the Catalans are still five points ahead of Real Madrid. However, Barca now face a very difficult task against high-flying Villarreal, although the visitors will be happy to finally face an opponent that want to play football. This means that Barcelona should have no problems creating chances at El Madrigal, but, on the other hand, their back line will face a difficult task against players like Nilmar, Rossi and Cazorla, who will have a lot of space to exploit behind the enemy lines. Nonetheless, Barcelona remain the favourites to win this game.
Pep Guardiola has received a major boost as Leo Messi has recovered from a muscle injury and he is likely to feature at El Madrigal. Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal remain unavailable.
Barcelona should have no problems scoring a couple at El Madrigal since they will have a lot of space to do so, but I am pretty confident they will not be able to keep a clean sheet and stop players like Rossi, Nilmar and Cazorla. Everything suggests we will see goals galore at El Madrigal and our advice is to back both teams to score.
Our prediction: Both teams to score
Odds: 1.72 (18/25)
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler