An injury-plagued Barcelona will be looking to get their La Liga title bid back on track against Villarreal this weekend.
Barcelona vs Villarreal – Camp Nou – Sunday 2nd December – Kick-off 5.30pm UK time
The Catalan giants haven’t won their last two league games after spectacularly losing 4-3 to Real Betis before then drawing 1-1 at Atletico Madrid last Saturday.
This recent slip-up has caused Barcelona to surrender their lead in La Liga to surprise high-flyers Sevilla.
However, on the back of beating PSV Eindhoven 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday, Barcelona will be hoping to carry over the momentum this weekend.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have a great record against Villarreal after winning their last 8 home matches and scoring three times in their past five encounters.
Although the Catalans have failed to keep a clean sheet at Camp Nou since the 3-0 win over Deportivo Alavés on August 18.
Meanwhile, Villarreal are in a struggle for survival down in 16th-place in La Liga with just three points separating them from the drop zone.
Javier Calleja’s men have only won three league games this season, but are undefeated in their last six matches across all competition and have tended to do better away from home this term.
Villarreal looked good in last Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Real Betis with Calleja expected to field a similar line-up at Camp Nou.
After undergoing stem cell treatment on his right knee, Luis Suarez remains on the sidelines for Barcelona.
The Uruguayan striker is also doutbful for their upcoming derby with rivals Espanyol the following weekend.
Meanwhile, midfielder Arthur is doubtful with an abdominal injury after missing out on the game in the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Another blow for Barcelona is the loss of defender Samuel Umtiti, who was also withdrawn from the mid-week game with a knee problem.
The loss of the Frenchman couldn’t have come at a worse time for Valverde with Sergi Samper (calf) doutful and Thomas Vermaelen (hamstring) out.
Right-back Sergi Roberto also remains sidelined with a hamstring problem along with goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen – who has a thigh issue.
Midfielder Rafinha Alcantara is likely out for the remainder of the club’s campaign with a cruciate ligament rupture.
On the other hand, Villarreal have no new injury concerns with Bruno Soriano, who hasn’t played in over a year, and Javi Fuego the only certain absentees.
Calleja will welcome back Álvaro González from suspension and will likely start him in defense at Camp Nou.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal; Dembélé, Messi, Coutinho
Villarreal (4-3-1-2): Asenjo; Gaspar, González, Ruiz, Pedraza; Cáseres, Trigueros, Cazorla, Fornals; Chukwueze, Moreno.
Barcelona 3-0 Villarreal