Barca team news ahead of Villarreal tie: Key men doubtful

La Liga By: Ambrose Udeme | 09/12/2017

La Liga leaders Barcelona will be without several important first-team players ahead of their La Liga clash with Villarreal on Sunday.

Ernesto Valverde’s side who haven't lost a La Liga or Copa del Rey match at Villarreal since 2007, including 6 wins and 3 draws in La Liga and 1 win and 1 draw in the Cup are looking to continue their unbeaten run in La Liga when they visit Estadio de la Cerámica but will have to do so without a number of key men.

While Lionel Messi who was benched for the UEFA Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday is expected to return to the starting XI, Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano are some of the big names currently recovering from knocks and face a race to be fit in time for this weekend’s clash.

Samuel Umtiti is definitely sidelined with a hamstring problem. He joins Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha on the treatment table as they continue their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.

A confirmation of the traveling party to Villarreal will be released by the Barcelona before the end of Saturday.

Barcelona go into the game as league leaders on 36 points whilst Villarreal are in sixth place in the table on 21 points and will be looking to consolidate their position amongst the European places in the division.