Barcelona travel to Villarreal on Sunday in La Liga looking to build on last week’s triumph over Cadiz. We take a look at where the betting value could lie in this fixture…
Barcelona are set to be without defender Ronald Araujo for their clash with Villarreal on Sunday. The Uruguayan remains absent with a thigh issue and it remains uncertain just how long he will be out for. Manager Xavi will also be without Brazilian winger Raphinha, who is serving the second of his three-game ban after the red card he picked up in the goalless draw at Getafe on the opening day. Villarreal remain without midfielder Francis Coquelin, who is still out of action with a long-term knee injury.
A point separates the two sides heading into this contest with each of them picking up one win so far this term. Villarreal got off the mark last week when they defeated Mallorca 1-0 away from home, while Barcelona prevailed 2-0 over Cadiz.
Robert Lewandowski to score anytime at 19/20
Having one of the best centre forwards of this generation leading the line last year played a key role in Barcelona securing the La Liga title and the Poland international’s 23-goal haul saw him collect the prestigious Pichichi Trophy. Surprisingly, the veteran striker hasn’t got off the mark in his club’s first two fixtures this term but he has only registered four efforts at goal.
Given the responsibility on his shoulders to lead the line for Barca, Lewandowski will be itching to get up and running at Villarreal this weekend. He will take confidence from the fact that he fired a brace past Sunday’s opponents at Camp Nou last term. As long as he is provided with service, Lewandowski is a natural finisher and once he’s off the mark he will be difficult to stop.
Barcelona and both teams to score (Yes) at 5/2
After picking up three points against Cadiz last time out, Barcelona will want to start building momentum as they look to defend the La Liga title from rivals Real Madrid. They currently trail Carlo Ancelotti’s men by two points. Los Blancos have picked up maximum points from their opening two fixtures and have significantly strengthened their ranks to try and reclaim the La Liga title.
Barcelona won both fixtures against Villarreal to nil last year but you get the feeling that the hosts can cause Xavi’s team some problems. A front three of Alexander Sorloth, Ben Brereton Diaz and Gerard Moreno on paper has a lot of goals, and manager Quique Setien needs to work out how to get that dynamic to work in reality. Barca are yet to concede a goal this term, but there were questions raised over some of the goals they conceded last year. We expect Barca to win two on the bounce here, but we also see their defence getting penetrated.