FC Barcelona (19th, 0pts) vs Villarreal CF (6th, 4pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday
Competition/Round: 2020-21 La Liga, Matchday 3
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Marc-André ter Stegen, Martin Braithwaite, Samuel Umtiti (out)
Villarreal Outs & Doubts: Alberto Moreno, Ramiro Guerra, Rubén Peña (out), Raúl Albiol (doubtful)
Date/Time: Sunday, September 27, 2020, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport Football (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others
Following an undefeated preseason and another strange week off the pitch, Barcelona begin their La Liga campaign with a home game against Villarreal at the Greatest Stadium on Earth, which will be empty to start the 2020-21 season.
The Blaugrana start the season in the third matchday which means they currently sit in 19th place with no points, and that’s kind of fitting if you remember that Barça looked like a relegation candidate against Bayern Munich the last time they played an official match.
Now Barça have a new manager in Ronald Koeman, a somewhat revamped squad without a couple of club legends but still captained by Lionel Messi, who once again is the sole hope of success early on as Barça look to become a stronger collective group to provide the GOAT with some help in his Last Tango.
The season debut is very tough against an unbeaten Villarreal team that remains as strong and attack-minded as last season, and they are now managed by Unai Emery who always managed to make things tough for Barça when coaching Valencia and Sevilla. This should be tough, but a very good early test for this Barça team.
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
This is a very good team to face in the opening game of the season, and the performances in preseason did not make me optimistic at all: 2-2 draw.