La Liga Matchday 3: Villarreal CF – FC Barcelona, Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal


La Liga is back with a bang: matchday three features a major clash between Villarreal and Barcelona! The reigning champions are looking to retain their crown but will have to improve on their last outings if they are to win convincingly against the Yellow Submarine. Barca left it late last weekend against Cadiz at home, and Lewandowski is yet to find the back of the net so far this season, and the Polish striker will no doubt look to rectify that Sunday afternoon. However, Barcelona has maintained last season’s defensive solidity and are yet to concede this campaign – the blaugrana only conceded 20 goals in last year’s La Liga campaign. The team is yet to fully gel into Xavi’s new tactical asset, which calls for a three-man backline and two “Trequartisti” behind the striker, a role that wonderkid Pedri occupied outstandingly in their last match, netting the goal that opened the scoring in the 82nd minute. The 3-4-2-1 outlook will also better suit Jules Kounde’, who is better fitted as a center back than a fullback, a role that he occupied many times last season on the champion’s right flank, as well as for the French national team during the World Cup. 

On the other hand, Villarreal have managed three points in their last two outings and will look to challenge for Top 4 this season after last year’s 5th place finish. The Yellow Submarine lost big components of last year’s squad in Chukwueze and Pau Torres, who moved to Milan and Aston Villa respectively, and are yet to fully incorporate their new signings into the starting XI. Alexander Sorloth and Ben Brereton will undoubtedly bolster their attack in upcoming matchdays, while Italian center back Matteo Gabbia is a downgrade on Pau Torres but will likely improve as he gets more game time, having barely featured for AC Milan last season. 

Prediction and Odds

We see a close match between the two sides, with Villarreal being especially stout defensively at home, but Barcelona should ultimately pull through with, at minimum, a draw. If you are feeling adventurous, play the NO on “Both Teams to Score”, at 2.40. 

Any Barcelona fans here? We’d love to hear your predictions not just for this game, but also whether you believe the Blaugrana can successfully retain the La Liga title this season and improve on their European aspirations – chat to us on our Twitter and Discord pages!

Villarreal to win – 3.66 

Draw – 3.60 

Barcelona to win – 2.06 

Lewandowski to Score (Anytime) – 1.96