The Spanish champions could be seven points off leaders Real Madrid by the time that they take to the field for this match, and Villarreal's recent form is likely to be of concern to the Catalan giants.
Villarreal were in poor form before the lockdown period in Spain's top flight, suffering three straight defats between February 23 and March 8 to leave their top-four hopes in tatters.
The Yellow Submarine have been excellent since resuming their campaign on June 13, though, picking up five wins from their six matches and remaining unbeaten in the process to rise up the table.
Javi Calleja's side have beaten Valencia and Real Betis in their last two matches and currently sit fifth in Spain's top flight, three points behind fourth-placed Sevilla on the same number of matches.
Villarreal have not finished fourth in La Liga since 2015-16, while they ended last season in 14th.
El Submarino Amarillo have not actually beaten Barca in Spain's top flight since March 2008, but they held the Catalan giants to a 4-4 draw in the corresponding match during the 2018-19 campaign.
Barca, meanwhile, have drawn three of their last four in the league, including a 2-2 with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, where they twice gave up the lead to drop two more points.
Quique Setien's side are currently four points off leaders Real Madrid, but the gap could be seven by the time that they take to the field for this match as Zinedine Zidane's side are in action against Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day.
There are still more than enough points to play for in the final weeks, but Barca are facing having to win each of their final five games against Villarreal, Espanyol, Real Valladolid, Osasuna and Alaves to finish at the summit.
Messi has again been in excellent form this season, but it would be fair to say that all is not well at Camp Nou and another poor result this weekend would only increase the speculation surrounding Setien's future.
Villarreal La Liga form: WWWDWW
Barcelona La Liga form: WWDWDD
The Yellow Submarine are otherwise in good shape in terms of injuries, though, and Calleja has plenty of decisions to make when it comes to the final third of the field.
Iborra could start if he proves his fitness in the build-up to kickoff, while Mario Gaspar should return to the back four, having been left on the bench against Betis last time out.
Antoine Griezmann was surprisingly only used in the final minute against Atletico last time out, but the Frenchman could return to the starting XI on Sunday night.
Sergi Roberto is also in line to replace Nelson Semedo at right-back, having proved his fitness off the bench against Diego Simeone's side, but the bulk of the side that started against the capital outfit should feature here.
Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Moreno; Cazorla, Trigueros, Anguissa, Chukwueze; Moreno, Bacca
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Griezmann, Suarez, Messi
We say: Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona
It is a game that Barca simply have to win, and we fancy the champions to emerge victorious. Villarreal have been excellent since the lockdown period, but the Spanish champions must stay in touch with Real Madrid, who have a tough game themselves away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday afternoon.