Leo Messi in action at El Madrigal last season | ARXIU FCB

FC Barcelona are off to El Madrigal on Sunday, and it’s a ground where positive results have flowed in recent seasons. Indeed the team has not lost there for nine years, the last reverse away to Villarreal coming in 2007 when Frank Rijkaard was in charge of the visitors and Manuel Pellegrini was sitting on the home bench.

Since then, the Catalans have won six and drawn three games, but although they have always managed to get a result, that doesn’t mean that those points were at all easy to come by.

The sides drew 0-0 in a cup match in the 2007/08 season. The year after, that Pep Guardiola took over as Barcelona manager. He led the team to three consecutive victories at the home of the Yellow Submarine: 2-1 (2008/09), 4-1 (2009/10) and 1-0 (2010/11). That winning run came to an end with a 0-0 draw, after which there was a sabbatical period as Villarreal dropped down to the second division.

On their return, the Barça wins continued. Tata Martino led the team to a spectacular 3-2 win after coming back from two goals down, and then Luis Enrique carried on the good work in Castellon. He started with two wins, 1-0 (2014/15) and 3-1 (in the Copa del Rey semi-final) and that was followed by a 2-2 draw in the last visit to El Madrigal.

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