Barcelona’s Meeting With Villarreal Is Make or Break for Quique Setién

Quique Setien
Quique Setien is under pressure following Barcelona’s slip up in the title race | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

As Barcelona prepare to face Villarreal on Sunday evening, all eyes will be on Quique Setién as he looks to quieten the rumours surrounding his future at Camp Nou.

The former Real Betis manager took charge earlier this year after the departure of Ernesto Valverde, yet is already facing the chop due to the club’s fairly disastrous return to football following the COVID lockdown.

Sure, seven games unbeaten may sound good on the surface, but the three draws during that run simply isn’t good enough for Barcelona – particularly with Real Madrid seizing the opportunity to go top of the table.

With Madrid potentially seven points clear of second placed Barça by the time Setien’s men take to the pitch on Sunday evening, the manager will all know all too well that their game against the ‘Yellow Submarine’ is simply a must-win game if he wishes to have a future at the club.

While it may not be enough to clinch a third successive title, a win over an in-form Villarreal side would at least do something to improve upon what has been a turbulent week – to say the least – for La Blaugrana.

The Catalan giants not only drew to both Atlético Madrid and Celta Vigo, but rumours began to circulate that Setién’s head was on the chopping block, with former Barcelona legend Xavi reportedly being lined up to take his place.

Xavier HernandezXavier Hernandez
Former Barca midfielder Xavi is reportedly set to take Setien’s place in the dugout | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

To make matters worse, the 61-year-old has had to respond to questions regarding the future of Antoine Griezmann and his supposed discontent, although Setién was quick to claim the Frenchman was ‘fine.

Oh and to make matters EVEN WORSE, there are rumours that captain Messi could be heading for the exit door, either in 2021or this summer. Which, yes, would be a complete disaster.

Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but what is clear is that a win would do the world of good for Setién and his players, even if it does prove in vain in the title race.

For many, Barcelona’s opponents have been the real highlight of the season, with Santi Cazorla leading a side who finished 14th last season to a potential top-four spot and Champions League qualification.

Setién will have to burst their bubble in order to potentially save his own future – ‘potentially’ being the operative word there.

What is clear is that Barça are in a bit of a mess at this moment in time, but that isn’t totally his fault – as boardroom catastrophe after boardroom catastrophe is threatening to completely derail the club. And while Xavi is seemingly waiting in the wings to take over, Setien can at least make him wait a bit longer with a win this weekend.