Can Barca go 11 points clear?
Barcelona are sitting pretty at the top of La Liga heading into the weekend, already eight points clear of nearest challengers Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are busy with the Club World Cup this weekend, meaning Barca have the chance to move 11 points clear of the defending champions in the meantime.
@socios | #TheFansGame | #LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/5SzaOLBbvG— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) February 5, 2023
Carlo Ancelotti’s men will, of course, have a game in hand but will still know that 11 points is a big old gap that will take some reeling in.
Barcelona head to Villarreal in strong form and will hope to pour more misery on a team that slipped to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to bottom side Elche last time out.
Ansu Fati facing his favorite opponents
Ansu Fati has been in the headlines all week with the rumor mill getting excited about the possibility of Barcelona cashing in on their young star.
It would be a surprise to see Fati in the starting XI against Villarreal, but it’s worth pointing out that the youngster does seem to love playing the Yellow Submarine.
#OTD in 2020, Ansu Fati scored a brace against Villarreal#LaLigaHighlights pic.twitter.com/KdKLajYbDR— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 27, 2022
Ansu has four goals in five outings against Villarreal in La Liga and has found the back of the net in three of his last four games against Sunday’s opposition.
All of which means Villarreal are undoubtedly Ansu’s favorite La Liga opponents, and he may just be keen to prove a point on Sunday if he gets a chance after a week of speculation about his future.
Setien takes on Barcelona
Sunday’s match will see Quique Setien come up against Barcelona, although the former Blaugrana boss insists it’s not too big a deal.
“It’s not a special game at all, it’s just another game,” he told reporters before the match.
“The reality is that this is a team that I have always liked, I am not fooling anyone and we all know that I have always liked the philosophy that Barcelona maintains with coaches like Xavi and I am a great admirer. But now we’re going to face them, and we’re going to try to catch up with them, play a great game and win it.”
Setien could be forgiven for playing down the occasion given he has a dreadful record whenever he comes up against the Catalan giants.
The coach has faced Barcelona seven times in La Liga. He’s won one, lost six and his team concede an average of 3.6 goals per game against the Catalans.
Indeed Setien has lost more games in La Liga as a manager against Barcelona than any other team and you get the feeling he’s probably not looking forward to Sunday’s visit.