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Villarreal Defends Its Champions League Eligible Place Against BarcelonaPublished January 8, 2017 by Florin P
Barcelona hopes to resume Primera Division with a road victory against in-form Villarreal (7:45 p.m UK Time).
Barcelona is still within striking distance of Real Madrid, but their archrivals have one game in hand. To make sure that the leaders don’t consolidate their position, the Catalans need to win on the road. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be such a difficult obstacle, but Villarreal is a hard nut to crack. They have one of the best home records in the Spanish first division and avoided defeat in the last six games.
No Injury Concerns for Barcelona
The Catalans have played many games recently, including a pair of difficult fixtures in international tournaments. However, they managed to keep their players fit to play and are going to throw everything they’ve got at Villarreal. Offensively they have all their big guns ready to fire, but their biggest concerns are with the backline. Keeping clean sheets has been difficult throughout the season.
Barcelona has only three days to rest after the match against Athletic Bilbao, a team that is particularly strong at home. Fatigue can take its toll on the visitors, but they won’t settle for a point at Camp El Madrigal. A narrow margin victory however would be more than acceptable for Luis Enrique’s team.
Strong Differences Keep Villarreal at the Top
Villarreal scored just 25 goals but they still sit in the fourth place thanks to their stellar backline. In 16 games played so far they only allowed 11 goals, the best percentage in all Primera Division. Granted none of their opponents have the offensive prowess of Barcelona, the hosts are entitled to be confident ahead of this fixture. Five players are doubtful, but all of them played in the midfield so the backline is intact.
Punters might be tempted to side with Barcelona, but the wise thing to do is to back the hosts. To minimize the risks, take the cover off a +1.5 Asian handicap at odds of 6/10 at bet365 sports. You will lock in on some nice profits if Villarreal doesn’t lose by two goals for more.