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Spanish La Liga-Match Prediction:Villarreal vs Barcelona
Match Time：4/25/2021 22:15 Sunday (GMT+8)
Spanish La Liga -- Villarreal VS FC Barcelona
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Arguably the standout fixture in the latest set of La Liga matches will take place at Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday afternoon as Villarreal welcome Barcelona.
Barca are currently third in the table, five points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with a game in hand, while Villarreal occupy seventh position, one point behind fifth-placed Real Sociedad.
Villarreal are, as it stands, locked in a three-way battle with Real Sociedad and Real Betis for fifth position, with just one point separating the three teams in Spain's top flight on the same number of matches (32).
The Yellow Submarine have won four of their last six in the league during a strong run of form, but they have been beaten in two of their last three, including a surprise 2-1 loss at Alaves on Wednesday evening.
Unai Emery's side will be determined to claim fifth spot in the league, but there is no question that they will also have one eye on their upcoming Europa League semi-final with Arsenal.
Villarreal will welcome the Gunners for the first leg of the last-four tie next Thursday before hosting Getafe in La Liga ahead of the second leg of the European semi-final at the Emirates Stadium on May 6.
It could be a very exciting end to the season for El Submarino Amarillo, who have won six, drawn six and lost three of their 15 home La Liga matches during the 2020-21 campaign.
Barca, meanwhile, put themselves back in the title picture on Thursday evening courtesy of a 5-2 victory over Getafe, with Lionel Messi scoring twice in a strong performance from the home side.
Ronald Koeman's side lost 2-1 at Real Madrid on April 10 but responded by thumping Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the Copa del Rey final before putting five past Getafe in their last league encounter.
There is still plenty of work to do for the Catalan giants if they are to rise to the summit, but the gap to leaders Atletico is only five points, and they have a game in hand over Diego Simeone's side.
Barca do not have any European distractions in the final weeks of the season, and it will be fascinating to see where they are in the table heading into the clash with Atletico on May 8.
Koeman's team ran out 4-0 winners in the reverse game at Camp Nou earlier this term, but they have lost four times on their travels in Spain's top flight during the 2020-21 campaign.
Villarreal La Liga form:
Villarreal form (all competitions):
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Villarreal will again be without the services of Vicente Iborra this weekend through injury, while Pervis Estupinan is unlikely to recover from a muscular problem in time for the contest.
The Yellow Submarine have no other fitness concerns at this stage, but there are expected to be a few changes from the side that took to the field against Alaves on Thursday.
Indeed, Sergio Asenjo and Juan Foyth could come into the side, while there is likely to be a return for Pau Torres, who continues to be linked with a move to Manchester United.
As for Barca, Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho are both still injured, but Martin Braithwaite could recover from an ankle problem to make the bench this weekend.
Number two goalkeeper Neto and French attacker Ousmane Dembele took part in Friday's training session, meanwhile, and the pair are likely to be back in the squad on Sunday.
Koeman is expected to stick with the majority of the side that started against Getafe despite the quick turnaround in fixtures, although there could be a change on the right, with Sergino Dest potentially coming in for Sergi Roberto, who has only just returned from injury.
Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros; Gomez, Alcacer, G. Moreno
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Pique, Lenglet; Dest, De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Alba; Messi, Griezmann
Villarreal vs Barcelona
Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona
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