Barcelona v Villarreal
La Liga - Wednesday, May 9, 7.00 pm BST
Barcelona continue their pursuit of their first unbeaten La Liga season as they entertain Villarreal at the Camp Nou.
Should they see out the remaining three games, it will be only the third time a Spanish team reached the landmark – Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid are the other two – and first in almost 80 years.
Villarreal also have three games left and need two points to confirm their place in next season’s Europa League.
Our match preview includes all the latest team news, as well as our betting tip for a La Liga match with much at stake.
Sunday’s El Clasico took a lot out of the team and Ernesto Valverde is expected to make a few changes to the Barcelona starting line-up.
Sergio Roberto is suspended following his dismissal at the weekend, with Semedo likely to slot in at right-back. Valverde may also bring in one or both of Digne and Vermaelen to rest Umtiti or Pique. Coutinho and Dembele are expected to play in the wider roles with Andres Iniesta dropping to the bench.
Unbeaten in 42 La Liga matches, this is an under-rated Barcelona team compared to its’ predecessors. Maybe that is down to the lack of success in this season’s Champions League; going undefeated in La Liga may redress that balance.
In 27 of the last 29 league matches, the Blaugrana have scored at least twice with the last six all featuring over 2.5 goals. However, there are chinks in the armoury with two goals conceded in the last three.
Lionel Messi, after failing to score in three games, has now hit five goals in the last three and needs three more for 50 goals this season, for the fifth time in eight years.
Finishing in the Europa League places will be a little disappointing for the Yellow Submarine, who hoped to challenge for the top four. Two points will guarantee European football next season or Getafe failing to win both their remaining games.
Spain’s head-to-head system of separating teams means Villarreal’s 4 – 0 drubbing in the Madrid suburb this season effectively means they need more points than their rivals.
Unbeaten in four (W3, D1), anything from this fixture will be a bonus. Barca have the upper hand in recent meetings and will be confident of winning.
On the road, Villarreal are struggling recently. One win in six (D2, L3) masks a determination within their squad. This season has seen them win 1 – 0 at Real Madrid and Valencia, while taking a point at Atletico Madrid. Of the teams above them, they suffered their only defeat at Real Betis, by two goals to one.
Last time out they drew 2 – 2 in Sevilla, underlining how difficult they are to beat in big matches. In three games previous to that, the games were won to nil (W1, L2).
Barcelona are in form but El Clasico was a tough game. Expect a little tiredness to creep into this, offering Villarreal hope for a point.
Correct Score Betting Tip, Barcelona 2 – 2 Villarreal @ odds of 15.5
Over / Under Goals Betting Tip, Over 3.5 @ odds of 1.76
Both Teams To Score Betting Tip, Yes @ odds of 1.55
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