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Team News: Injury plagued Barcelona set for vital changes against Villarreal



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Barcelona vs Villarreal

La Liga, 2015

Date: 8th November, 2015

Kick Off: 3pm BST

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona

Live Stream: fuboTV

Barcelona welcome Villarreal at the Camp Nou this Sunday. The Spanish champions have been plagued with injuries to key players and will have their work cut out against the El Submarino Amarillo.

After winning the treble last season Barcelona were expected to start this season in full throttle but injuries to key players has been a major hindrance for the Catalan giants.

Luis Enrique will be hoping to retain his side’s La Liga crown this season and a positive result against Villarreal is of the utmost importance.

Barcelona go head to head with Real Madrid in a vital Clasico later this month and it is imperative that the champions do not fall further behind the Los Blancos, who are leading the table.

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has missed several games this season and once again Luis Enrique will have to rely on Neymar and Suarez to bail his side out against an impressive Villarreal side.

Meanwhile, the Catalans have been dealt a damaging blow during their midweek tie against BATE in the Champions League. Croatian midfield Ivan Rakitic has picked up a calf injury and has been ruled out for a month.

As for Villarreal, Marcelino’s side have started strongly and is just four points behind the Spanish giants. Villarreal have lost just once away from home and will be aiming to pile further misery on the injury plagued Barcelona side.

The away side will be hoping to close the gap with Barcelona to just one point with a win this Sunday and will be relying on their well organised defence to do the job.

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Barcelona vs Villarreal Team News

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano is sidelined with a ban after his red card against Eibar. The Argentina international will be serving the second match of his suspension.

Ivan Rakitic is out with an injury he picked up against BATE and the likes of Sergi Roberto or Andres Iniesta will be expected to start alongside Sergio Busquets. Ramirez and Munir are expected to fight it out for the right-hand side in the absence of Lionel Messi.

As for Villarreal, Eric Bailly is serving a one-match ban, though the Ivorian is also suffering with an injury problem. Daniele Bonera will come into the back four as a result, with Tomas Pina expected to partner Bruno at the heart of the midfield.

Denis and Jonathan are expected to line up on the wing with no changes to the striking positions.

Barcelona vs Villarreal Starting Lineups

Barcelona starting lineup: Bravo; Alves, Mathieu, Pique, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Iniesta; Suarez, Neymar, Munir.

Villarreal starting lineup: Areola; Mario, Bonera, Ruiz, Costa; Santos, Bruno, Pina, Suarez; Soldado, Bakambu.

Barcelona vs Villarreal Key Stats

Barcelona have won 26 of their last 31 matches in La Liga.

Barcelona have won their last 6 matches against Villarreal in all competitions.