Villarreal - FC Barcelona: Catalans looking for 39 matches unbeaten

In the final match for the Catalans before the international break, Barcelona travel to Villarreal.

Villarreal - FC Barcelona: Catalans looking for 39 matches unbeaten
Source: Getty

FC Barcelona are reaching unstoppable levels on their campaign currently this season, which is spearheaded by the performances of the front three of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. However, Luis Enrique has stated that before any talk of any possible back-to-back treble will happen, they will have to focus on the league first and go game by game.

Nevertheless, the Blaugrana are in perfect pole position to get all three possible titles this season. Eight points above second place Atletico Madrid in La Liga, in the Copa del Rey final for the third straight year and in a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie against Atletico Madrid, things are indeed looking up for the Catalans and they want more, but first, they need to complete a stretch of nine more games in the league, the first being away to Villarreal.

Nothing accomplished yet

Luis Enrique has praised the Yellow Submarine, calling the fourth place side ''one of the best teams in the league.'' He also stated that ''they work together in a very clinical manner and have perfect command of the defensive zone.”  Barcelona come into this match with no injuries, with the return with of Rafinha following an injury that kept him out for a significant which which was expected and great coming from a side that goes into this match having won 12 successive matches in La Liga. Should victory happen, Barca are very well on course for a sixth title in eight years.

Luis Enrique speaks to the press pre-Villarreal. Photo: Sport
Luis Enrique speaks to the press pre-Villarreal. Photo: Sport

Marcelino's brave men

Meanwhile, Villarreal have all things to smile about. With 53 points currently in La Liga, they are in the final position for the UEFA Champions League, which might be buoyed by the fact that they are quarterfinalists in this year's UEFA Europa League. However, the luck has not been used against the defending La Liga champions. The Valencian outfit have lost their last seven encounters with Barcelona in all competitions. 

Marcelino has stated that he is up for the challenge. “Barça are the strongest team, by a mile. What’s more, this fixture doesn’t come to us at the best time. Even so, there’s no doubt that we’ll play with absolute excitement and try and get the win. We have to have a perfect match.''

Team news

Alphonse Areola (knee), Mateo Musacchio, Jonathan dos Santos (both hamstring), Samu (foot) and Jaume Costa (ankle) are all out through injury.

Villarreal possible XI: Areola; Gaspar, Bailly, Ruiz, Rukavina; Suarez, Pina, Bruno, Trigueros; Bakambu, Soldado

Barcelona possible XI: Bravo; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Turan; Messi, Suarez, Neymar