Guardiola's side face the Yellow Submarine in an intriguing first match to a delayed la Liga with both teams aiming for the perfect start to their campaign at Camp Nou.
|Barcelona (4-1-2-3): Valdes; Dani Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Adriano; Busquets; Fabregas, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa
Pep Guardiola faces the prospect of beginning La Liga without first-choice defenders Gerard Pique (calf) and club captain Carles Puyol (knee) with Barcelona likely to employ Javier Mascherano and Eric Abidal as a makeshift centre-half pairing.
Having won the European Super Cup in Monaco on Friday, Guardiola may have hoped to rotate his squad but, despite playing at Camp Nou, Villarreal will pose a danger to Barcelona and as such their usual front three of Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa are likely to start on Monday night.
However, Guardiola may opt for Busquets and Fabregas to provide fresh impetus in midfield, replacing Seydou Keita and Xavi respectively who started in Barca’s Super Cup victory over Porto.
Ibrahim Afellay is still unavailable having failed to recover from a muscular strain in time for Monday night’s match.
|Villarreal (4-3-1-2): Diego Lopez; Mario, Musacchio, Zapata, Oriol; Bruno, Marchena, Cani; Valero; Nilmar, Rossi||
The Yellow Submarine will travel to Camp Nou without captain Gonzalo Rodriquez, who is not expected back until early October due to a fractured fibula, with summer signing Cristian Zapata expected to make his La Liga debut alongside Mateo Musacchio in central defence.
Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi looks set to remain at Villarreal after a summer of speculation linking him to Italy was quelled when Rossi’s agent said: “Villarreal have taken him off the market after the sale of Santi Cazorla brought in the money the club needed.”
Barcelona were another club that Rossi had been linked to at one stage over the summer, but the move never materialised, giving Villarreal’s top scorer from last season the chance to show Barca what he is capable of.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Guardiola has now led Barcelona to 12 trophies in just over three years at the club, a feat that takes him past Johan Cruyff’s 11 in eight seasons.
- In this fixture last season Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners. After Nilmar had cancelled out David Villa’s early strike, a Lionel Messi brace in the second half proved too much for the Yellow Submarine.
- Barcelona failed to score at Camp Nou just twice throughout the entirety of La Liga 2010-11; in a 0-0 draw against Deportivo la Coruna, and a 2-0 defeat to Hercules.
- This fixture last brought a goalless draw back in 2003-04 season, so you can expect goals galore – although that match was played at the Camp Nou.
- Villarreal last won at Camp Nou in the 2007-08 season, with a 2-1 triumph. Marcos Senna and Jon-Dahl Tomasson scored either side of a Xavi strike to give the Yellow Submarine all three points.
- In the last 24 matches between these two sides there have been more than three goals scored on 13 occasions.
- Villarreal secured a place in the Champions League proper after a 3-1 aggregate win over Danish club Odense. Garrido’s men have been drawn against Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Napoli in the group touted as the “Group of Death”.
- Villarreal had the worst away record of the ‘Top Five’ last season; they managed just five wins, scoring 21 goals – failing to score on seven occasions.