Barcelona vs Villarreal – LIVE Reddit Soccer 22/05/2022
Barcelona will be aiming to secure a positive end to the 2021/22 La Liga campaign when they play hosts to Villarreal on Sunday. Following a disastrous start to the season, Barcelona have turned it around quite well under the leadership of Xavi Hernandez. Although the Catalans have not been able to keep up with arch-rivals Real Madrid during the course of the season, they will be happy with the progress they have made, and things are only looking up for them as we gear up for the summer transfer window. On Sunday, Barcelona will look to cap off their campaign on a positive note when they take on Villarreal at Camp Nou. The hosts have their second place in the league table secured thanks to a healthy five-point lead over Atletico Madrid.
Villarreal, though, are in for a more tense affair as they must secure all three points at Camp Nou this weekend in order to retain their seventh place in the league table. Despite reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League this term, the Yellow Submarine are running the risk of completely missing out on European football next season. They are currently seventh in the league table, a point ahead of Athletic Club. But a defeat to Barcelona could hand Athletic the opportunity to finish in the UEFA Europa Conference League place, although the Basque outfit must secure a win over fourth-placed Sevilla.
Unai Emery’s men were beaten 3-1 at the hands of Barcelona in the reverse fixture. But the visitors will be hoping for better luck against Xavi’s men and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their enticing match-up at Camp Nou this weekend. Barcelona are heading into this affair with a myriad of absentees, including key defensive leader Gerard Pique, right-back Sergino Dest and utility man Sergi Roberto. Eric Garcia is ruled out for the rest of the season as well, joining Pedri on the list of players available for this game.
Oscar Mingueza had made a positive impact for Barcelona during the last game, and with Garcia and Pique out injured, one would expect the youth graduate to continue. But with Jordi Alba back in contention this weekend, Clement Lenglet may have to make way, meaning the central defensive combination could consist of Mingueza and Ronald Araujo.
Dani Alves should continue at right-back, while Alba is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. The latter’s ability to make marauding runs forward and provide width could go a long way in helping Barcelona stretch the Villarreal defence.
Barcelona will be bidding to end their 2021-22 La Liga campaign on a high when they welcome Villarreal to Camp Nou on Sunday night.
The Catalan giants have already secured second position in the table behind Real Madrid, but Villarreal are bidding to hold off competition from Athletic Bilbao to finish seventh in Spain’s top flight.
Watching Real Madrid win the La Liga title in such emphatic fashion will not have been easy for Barcelona, while the Catalan outfit have also had to stand by while their Clasico rivals have advanced to the Champions League final.
Finishing second will never be accepted at Camp Nou, but all things considered, it has been a relatively stable second half of the season for Barcelona, who will finish second in Spain’s top flight, picking up 73 points from their 37 league games thus far, which has left them five clear of third-placed Atletico Madrid.
Xavi’s side have won 21, drawn 10 and lost six of their 37 La Liga fixtures this term, and they are currently on a four-game unbeaten run, beating Mallorca, Real Betis and Celta Vigo before playing out a goalless draw with Getafe last weekend.
Barcelona, who failed in both the Champions League and Europa League this season, have the fourth-best home record in La Liga this term, picking up 38 points from 18 matches, and they will be welcoming a Villarreal side that only have the 11th-best record on their travels.
The Catalan giants have won their last five La Liga matches against the Yellow Submarine, meanwhile, including a 3-1 victory in the reverse game earlier this season.
Villarreal have not actually beaten Barcelona in La Liga since March 2008, when they recorded a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou, which is an indication of the size of their task on Sunday evening.
The Yellow Submarine reached the semi-finals of this season’s Champions League, losing to Liverpool in the final four, but they have been unable to secure a top-six finish in La Liga, having only picked up 56 points from their 37 league games this term.
Unai Emery’s side are only one point clear of eighth-placed Athletic Bilbao in the battle for seventh, which would see the club qualify for the playoff round of the Europa Conference League.
Villarreal will view any European football as a plus, but having proved themselves in this season’s Champions League, the fact that they will not be present in either the Champions League or Europa League next term will be seen as a disappointment.
Emery’s team thumped Rayo Vallecano 5-1 in their last away match on May 12, but they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad in their last match on May 15.