FC Barcelona face their first real test of the season so far, and indeed of Luis Enrique's reign as manager tonight, when they travel south to El Madrigal to take on Villarreal CF in La Liga action. The Yellow Submarine occupied third position after an impressive 2-0 win in their season opener against Levante UD, trailing only the Blaugrana and Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid. In that sense, make no mistake: Villarreal are one of the strongest teams in La Liga and an away trip to El Madrigal might just be as tough as it gets.
Thankfully, Villarreal aren't invincible. They have weaknesses just like any other side; including a lack of width and they arguably lack a true midfield destroyer as well, meaning that the Barça midfield could run riot if Bruno Soriano struggles to establish himself in the middle of the park. The pace they possess on the counter-attack is a threat, but it's nothing that the Blaugrana haven't seen before; instead the defensive focus will be on Cani's creativity and Giovani's one-on-one dribbling ability -- I'm sure we won't want to see Gio bearing down on Pique too often for example.
That being said, Villarreal have more than enough problems of their own to contend with. Luis Enrique's appointment as head coach has heralded a slight change in tactics from Barcelona; Messi still has that free role, but the two "wingers" are now positioned closer to the area, and closer to goal in inside-forward positions, creating more opportunities for Messi to play the killer ball.
With a dominant grip over possession and fluid movement in attack, Barcelona should be too strong for Villarreal -- but what do you think will happen at El Madrigal tonight?
Predict the score of tonight's match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!
- Video: FC Barcelona B vs CE Sabadell Match Highlights
- La Liga: Villarreal CF vs FC Barcelona: Match Preview
- FC Barcelona B vs CE Sabadell FC Match Review
- Official: Alex Song to Join West Ham United on Loan Deal
- FC Barcelona's Next La Liga Opponent: Jornada 2 – Villarreal CF Scouting Report & Key Battles