FC Barcelona (2nd, 70pts) vs Villarreal CF (5th, 54pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday
Competition/Round: 2019-20 La Liga, Matchday 34
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Frenkie De Jong, Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembélé (out)
Villarreal Outs & Doubts: Ramiro Guerra, Ramiro Funes Mori (out), Sofian Chakla (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, July 5, 2020, 10pm CET (Barcelona), 9pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 4pm ET, 1pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Estadio de la Cerámica (El Madrigal in our hearts), Villarreal, Spain
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others
Following a hard-fought draw at home against Atlético Madrid, two-time defending La Liga champions Barcelona return to action for what may or may not be their last realistic chance to fight for the title when they visit Villarreal at El Madrigal on Sunday.
Barça get to play after leaders Real Madrid for the first time in a while, and Los Blancos have a very tough away match against Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés. Madrid need to lose two of their last five games for Barça to win the title (assume the Blaugrana win all of their games), and it wouldn’t be a shock if the leaders lost in Bilbao.
If that happens and Barça beat Villarreal, Madrid’s lead will be one point with four games to go and they’ll be under immense pressure to not give Barça a chance to rise from the dead in the last three weeks of the season. But the hard part isn’t really Madrid losing; it’s looking at this Barça team and imagining they have any real shot of winning five games in a row and giving themselves a chance.
This team is badly coached, with a terrible attitude and the greatest player in the history of the club may be calling it quits next year. Also, and this right here is important, they’ll be facing an excellent Villarreal team who are unbeaten since the restart with five wins in six games despite a brutal schedule (Celta Vigo and Real Betis away, Sevilla and Valencia at home) and are just three points behind fourth place with a real chance to go to the Champions League next season.
Quique Setién has no idea what his best team is, Antoine Griezmann is the most expensive bench player ever, and the defense continues to be a mess. It’s a horrible time to be a Barça fan and the title is most definitely out of hand.
But... what if... Athletic beat Real? Is there still a chance? Yeah, probably not.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Puig; Messi, Suárez, Ansu Fati
Villarreal (4-4-2): Asenjo; Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Moreno; Chukwueze, Iborra, Anguissa, Cazorla; Alcácer, Gerard
No chance we win this one. Just no chance. 3-3 draw.