Barcelona - Villarreal Preview: Catalans look to continue great form against Yellow Submarine
Neymar and Suarez are in great form going into this one (photo: yahoo)

It will be a big matchup in La Liga as Barcelona take on Villarreal as both teams look to get another win after midweek wins in European competitions. 


Even without Leo Messi, Barcelona are still thriving in their form. Utilising the dangerous duo of Neymar and Luis Suarez, Barcelona find themselves right at the top of the table with rivals Real Madrid.

Both teams are level with 24 points with Real edging ahead on goal difference. After losing 2-1 to Sevilla at the beginning of last month, the Catalans have strung up three straight wins and will look to make it four against Villarreal. They also find themselves at the top of their Champions League group and are in prime position to advance to the round of 16. 

It has been a good season for Villarreal as well. The Yellow Submarine are tied for 4th with Atletico Madrid with 20 points from 10 games and are primed to qualify for another top five finish. They earned a big win against Sevilla last week and after losing to Celta Vigo prior, the win did wonders for Villarreal. They took that momentum midweek and beat Dinamo Minsk 2-1 in the Europa League, where they are currently second in their group behind Rapid Wien

Key players

The key player for Barcelona will be Neymar. He scored a penalty against BATE in a 2-0 win midweek and has been on fire the past couple of weeks. The Brazilian and Luis Suarez had to step up with Messi out with a knee injury and they have. Both have had more control in the offense than they ever did with Messi on the field. They are showing their world class and are in fantastic form. 

The key player for Villarreal will be Roberto Soldado. The former Spurs striker has enjoyed a revival of his career as he looks to be enjoying life in Spain. He has provided to be a huge influence on the Villarreal offense, as he scored both goals in their win in the Europa League. He's second in the team in goals and is showing Villarreal that bringing him to Spain was a great move. 

Team news

Villarreal will walk into the Camp Nou shorthanded on defense as defender Eric Bertrand Bailly will be suspended for the fixture. 

Leo Messi has been named on the shortlist for the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year. 

Barcelona will be depleted in the midfield as Ivan Rakitic has been ruled out for a month with a leg injury. 

In a quote

"We are doing a great job and that is important. But we have to be very calm.'' said Neymar to Barcelona's team website (via ESPNFC). 

"Unfortunately, we lost Rakitic." said Barcelona manager Luis Enrique (via ESPNFC).