- Copy link
The Camp Nou is the venue on Sunday (at the rearranged time 10.00pm CEST) for the final game of the Liga season. FC Barcelona can afford to relax and go out and enjoy themselves. Whatever happens in this game, they will finish second in the league table and will be playing in both the UEFA Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup next season.
But visitors Villarreal still have work to do. The ‘Yellow Submarine’ may have gone all the way to the semi-finals of the UCL this season, but the best they can hope for in 2022/23 is the Conference League, and to do that they will need to make sure they get a better result than Athletic Club, who visit Sevilla at the same time.
Villarreal’s amazing European journey, in which they impressively eliminated both Juventus and Bayern Munich before eventually succumbing to Liverpool, is in stark contrast to their domestic form.
They spent much of their Liga campaign languishing in mid-table, but things picked up from December onwards. However, although a top four finish suddenly became a very realistic prospect, they couldn’t make it happen, and they are seventh going into the final day.
Coached by Unai Emery, whose previous positions have included jobs at PSG and Arsenal, their top scorer this season is Dutchman Arnaut Danjuma with 16, followed by Gerard Moreno on 13. However, neither of those two is fit for this game, while Alberto Moreno is also injured and Juan Foyth is serving a suspension.
The last time we met
Barça won 3-1 in the reverse fixture at the Estadio de la Cerámica, the goals all coming in the second half courtesy of Memphis, Frenkie de Jong and Philippe Coutinho.
Barça team news
Barça go into this game with injury concerns of their own. It’s been a long and testing season, and none of Pedri, Sergiño Dest, Nico González or Eric Garcia are available.
That said, with nothing more than honour resting on this game, there is a good chance that Xavi Hernández will use it to give run-outs to some of the less regular members of his squad.
This isn’t quite the last game for his players before the summer break. After this one is over, the team will be making a historic first-ever trip down under to play a combination of A-League All Stars at the Accor Stadium, Sydney.
Did you know?
Barça have won their last ten games at home to Villarreal in La Liga, and including away fixtures are currently on a run of five wins. Not a bad record at all against one of the traditionally strongest clubs in the competition!
If Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores, it would be his 12th goal in sixteen Liga games, the best start for any new player since Radamel Falcao joined Atlético Madrid in 2011.
Look out for Samuel Chukwuese. The Nigerian has a knack of scoring against Barça. He’s already done it three times.
The Camp Nou is a wonderful place to visit, but not if you are Unai Emery. In his ten previous visits as a Liga manager, he has lost every single time.
There may only be honour at stake, but coach Xavi still wants to make sure the team ends this season on a high note:
- Copy link