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How should Barcelona line up against Villarreal?

The league leaders face another tricky away game

FC Barcelona v Sporting CP - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona head to Villarreal on Sunday for another tricky away game but with the luxury of having been able to rest players in the midweek win over Sporting.

Villarreal also rested players for Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv and will look to in-form Cédric Bakambu to test Barca’s defence which wobbled last weekend.

Here’s a look at how Barca might line-up


Marc-Andre ter Stegen will return in goal and Nelson Semedo should feature at right-back, although we all know we might actually see Sergio Roberto there.

Thomas Vermaelen will slot in alongside Gerard Pique in central defence, with Samuel Umtiti still out, with Jordi Alba at left-back completing the defence.

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images


Presumably Ernesto Valverde will continue with 4-4-2 but it’s still far from certain who will play.

The only certain starter seems to be Sergio Busquets and he could be joined by Paulinho who was left out of the starting line-up in midweek.

Sergio Roberto could also feature in midfield, unless Valverde opts for him at right-back again, with Ivan Rakitic also likely to feature.

Andres Iniesta missed out in midweek due to injury and it’s uncertain at this point if he’s fit. If he’s not, that might give Denis Suarez another chance to impress.

FC Barcelona v Sporting CP - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images


Lionel Messi was rested again in the Champions League, coming on in the second half but there’s no question that he will start against the Yellow Submarine.

Paco Alacacer scored again in midweek, his first Champions League goal, as he put in another display to strengthen the argument he deserves to start ahead of Luis Suarez.

The striker has delivered the goods whenever he’s been asked this season and has five for the season, only less than Suarez, but achieved in far fewer minutes.

There’s no doubt Suarez is struggling for form, fitness and confidence but Alcacer is not and maybe it’s time he came in to give the Uruguayan a rest?

FC Barcelona v Sporting CP - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Possible starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Paulinho, Denis Suarez; Messi, Alcacer.

Who would you like to see start against Villarreal? Let us know your thoughts and line-ups in the comments below!

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