Barcelona will be looking to kickstart a new era under Ronald Koeman with a win, when they take on Villarreal this weekend at home.
Here's our preview on this match, plus our best picks.
🥊 Trouble in paradise?
Barcelona have been dominating the headlines over the past couple of months, but for all the wrong reasons.
From the LaLiga title loss to the humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League, from Lionel Messi trying to leave the club, to Luis Suarez actually leaving the club, the Catalans are pretty much in a state of turmoil.
Amidst all this, Ronald Koeman, brought in to replace Quique Setien, will be looking to guide the club through a period of tumult and back to the top of the pile in Spanish football. And the former Barcelona defender’s first assignment as manager will be against a tough opponent in Villarreal at Camp Nou today.
🏟 Match context
Barcelona head into the game on the back of victories against Gimnastic and Girona in their pre-season friendlies, while they also defeated Elche 1-0 for the Joan Gamper Trophy. Koeman will be hoping that his side are able to set aside all the negativity and carry the momentum forward from these wins, even though they were non-competitive fixtures.
Villarreal, having finished fifth last season, have started the season fairly well under the new management of Unai Emery. The Yellow Submarine kicked things off with a 1-1 draw against newly-promoted Huesca, and followed it up with a 2-1 win over Eibar. Currently sixth in the table, they will be hoping to pile on Barcelona’s misery with a victory this weekend.
The corresponding fixture last season had ended in a 2-1 win for Barcelona, with goals coming from Antoine Griezmann and Arthur Melo, while Santi Cazorla scored for Villarreal.
🔮 Predicted XIs
Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Neto; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong; Griezmann, Coutinho, Ansu Fati; Messi
Villarreal (4-4-2): Asenjo; Gaspar, Funes Mori, Torres, Estupiñán; Chukwueze, Coquelin, Parejo, Gómez; Alcácer, Gerard
🔑 Key betting stats
- Barcelona have not lost in their last 22 LaLiga games against Villarreal (W16 D6). Their last defeat against the Yellow Submarine came in March 2008 at Camp Nou (1-2).
- Villarreal have only lost three of their last 11 matches on the road in La Liga (W7 D1), after having lost five of their previous six away games in the competition.
- Barcelona have won their last nine La Liga meetings with Villarreal at Camp Nou. The last time the Catalans failed to register a home win in the league against their weekend opponents was in January 201o.
- Villarreal manager Unai Emery has lost each of his 12 away games at Camp Nou in all competitions.
Barcelona’s new boss Ronald Koeman has failed to win his three games as manager against Villarreal in all competitions (D1 L2).
✅ Futaa tips
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