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Barcelona vs Villarreal, La Liga: Team News, Match Preview

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The champions look for a big win to stay close to the league leaders

PSV v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona (2nd, 25pts) vs Villarreal (17th, 14pts)*


*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday

Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 14

Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Luis Suárez, Arthur, Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Jasper Cillessen, Rafinha, Thomas Vermaelen, Sergi Samper (out)

Villarreal Outs and Doubts: Bruno Soriano (out), Javi Fuego (doubt)

Date/Time: Sunday, December 2, 2018, 6.30pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 5.30pm GMT (UK), 12.30pm ET, 9.30am PT (USA), 11pm IST (India)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Referee: José Luis Munuera Montero

How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), others

How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others


The Camp Nou will be home on Sunday to Barcelona’s return to La Liga action when they welcome Villarreal to the best stadium on Earth. The Blaugrana are fresh off a huge victory in the Netherlands over PSV Eindhoven that won them their Champions League group with a game to spare, and now Barça have until February to focus solely in the league.

And that should be a good thing. The Catalans have not cared at all about La Liga so far, and they’re still just one point behind leaders Sevilla. The Copa del Rey will heat up but we’ll see weaker teams in that, so expect Ernesto Valverde to always play his best lineups in league matches over the next few weeks.

If Barça play in the league with 60% of the focus they’ve played in Europe, they should get back to the top of the table and start to mount a title challenge. It all starts with the Yellow Submarine, who are having a terrible season but haven’t lost in three games and just beat Real Betis last week. They won’t be easy, but Barça don’t have the Champions League to care about for now so they must give their all here. Let’s see if they do.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Dembélé, Messi, Coutinho

Villarreal (4-3-1-2): Asenjo; Mario, Víctor Ruiz, Álvaro, Jaume; Cazorla, Cáseres, Trigueros; Fornals; Gerard, Chukwueze


PREDICTION

This team is just impossible to predict in non-European games, but I’m an optimist: 3-0 Barça.