Barcelona have an opportunity to reduce Atletico Madrid’s lead at the top of the table to just two points, as they face Villarreal on Sunday.
Barcelona have bounced back from their El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid, after two convincing victories against Athletic Bilbao and Getafe. The Catalans secured the Copa del Rey title last week, after they defeated Bilbao, by a score-line of 4-0. Lionel Messi inspired his side to a 5-2 victory over Getafe in the midweek, as they keep the pressure on Atletico Madrid.
If the Catalans are to claim all three points on Sunday, they will move level on points with their rivals, Real Madrid, with an extra game in hand. Moreover, they will be just two points behind the league leaders, Atletico Madrid, with six games left to be played.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start between the sticks for the visitors. The German goalkeeper has kept just two clean sheets in the past seven games and will hope to do well on Sunday. Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Piqué and Clement Lenglet will continue to hold their places in the starting lineup. The trio were not at their best in the midweek, conceding two goals against a relegation-threatened side, Getafe.
Sergino Dest will come in for Sergi Roberto at the right-wing back position. The latter has just returned from injury, and it is unlikely that Ronald Koeman will start him on Sunday. Jordi Alba will continue to operate from the left-wing back position. The experienced Spaniard has started in all of the last five games for his side and has performed admirably so far this season.
Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Pedri will start in the midfield for the visitors. De Jong was on the scoresheet against Athletic Club last weekend and has been a consistent performer this season. Sergio Busquets will play a deeper role in midfield and will safeguard his side’s defence. On the other hand, Pedri is expected to link up with Jordi Alba on the wings and will play a much more attacking role.
Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi will start as strikers against Villareal. The duo were on the scoresheet in the midweek, with the Argentine scoring a brace. The 33-year old has had an impressive season so far, scoring 33 goals and delivering another 14 assists. in all competitions. On the other hand, Griezmann is gaining some sort of consistency, after scoring in the last two games for his side.