Barcelona vs Villarreal – La Liga Match Preview
FC Barcelona will stare expectantly at Neymar to put them above Real Madrid in the league standings as they host Villarreal on Sunday afternoon.
Barca greet The Yellow Submarine to Catalonia having clinically secured their position in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League last week. The defenders took a large step towards the knockout stages of the competition with a reassuring 3-0 victory over BATE Borisov.
Brazilian forward Neymar netted a double for the home side, including a penalty, either side of fellow striker Luis Suarez scoring another on the hour mark.
With his double on Wednesday night, Neymar moved ahead of another Brazilian legend Ronaldinho to become the sixth highest scoring Catalan in Champions League. The Brazilian should be happy with himself an impressive 16 goals tally in 26 games.
His recent form has been appreciated vigorously from team-mate Iniesta as it has been really helpful due to Lionel Messi’s absence owing to an injury.
“He’s a spectacular talent in every sense,” Iniesta exclaimed. “He’s still very young and he has come to a team where he can develop a lot. Let’s hope his progress continues because we want him to stay here for a lot more years”.
Neymar has to shoulder even more responsibility in the weeks that are to follow as there are speculations that Messi’s return can be further prolonged as his recovery the injury was expected to coincide with El Clasico on November 21, but as he hasn’t joined the training sessions yet, there is doubt over his availability for the critical La Liga fixture.
Barca are level with 24 points at the top of the standings with Real but lags behind due to goal difference.
To make things worse, the Catalans had to suffer from another blow against Borisov with Croatian midfield Ivan Rakitic falling victim to a calf injury that has caused him to be out for a month.
Luis Enrique’s squad confront a Villarreal side who have impressed us with a positive start to the campaign with their record of six wins, two draws and defeats ensuring them to be just four points behind the top two.