Two of the sides that hope to shuffle the status quo in Spanish La Liga will go head-to-head on Tuesday, 29 December 2020, when Sevilla will take on Villarreal at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Even though they’re well known for their strong home performances, the Andalusians have failed to beat Villarreal in each of their last four matches at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (0-3-1).
Sevilla Betting Preview
Julen Lopetegui’s side come off a hard-fought 1-0 win at Valencia last time out when Suso scored his first goal of the season and they’re now set to face another Valencian side right after Christmas.
Since the back-to-back home defeats to Chelsea and Real Madrid in the Champions League and in La Liga, respectively, in early-December, Sevilla have reignited their solid form and are now unbeaten in five games (4 wins, 1 draw) – with all of the victories coming on the road.
Sevilla have already lost two home games in La Liga – as much as they did for the entirety of the 2019-20 season and will be looking for their first home win after three unsuccessful attempts across all competitions.
Since their record sixth Europa League triumph in August, Sevilla are not particularly convincing but they still managed to progress in the Champions League (finishing runners-up in Group E) and could also build on their domestic form.
Although they have the worst attacking record of all clubs in the top half of the table (scoring 15 goals), Sevilla are just three points behind Villarreal, yet with two games in hand and they could easily climb up in the standings.
However, Sevilla could boast the second-best defensive record in La Liga conceding just 10 goals so far (they’re only behind Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid with 5) and would use their defensive play as a foundation for another top four finish in La Liga, as well as an extension of their Champions League campaign, where Sevilla will face Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 in February.
Until then, Sevilla would be focused on what’s coming up next in Spain and after their last match of the calendar year vs Villarreal, Julen Lopetegui and his players are set for a Seville derby against arch rivals Betis on 2 January 2021.
Goalkeeper Tomas Vaclík and left-back Sergio Escudero are both sidelined for Sevilla but their injuries are not new for Julen Lopetegui’s game plan and Yassine Bounou should once again remain in goal, while Marcos Acuña is set to start at left-back.
Croatian veteran Ivan Rakitic returned to Sevilla and is truly devoted to his club team, retiring from the international duty and looking to reignite his career after six seasons and 200 La Liga appearances for Barcelona.
Up front, Youssef En-Nesyri will hope to get the nod over fellow forward Luuk de Jong, who fails to maintain consistency and had scored just two goals in 13 La Liga games so far, while En-Nesyri himself has bagged four times in the same number of La Liga appearances, which combined with four more goals in the Champions League, makes the Moroccan forward Sevilla’s top goalscorer not only in the Spanish top-flight but in all competitions this season.
Villarreal Betting Preview
Unbeaten in 12 La Liga games (5 wins, 7 draws) – their longest such streak since March 2016 – Unai Emery’s side had to work hard to save a point in their clash with Gaizka Garitano’s Athletic Bilbao side at Estadio de la Cerámica last time out and The Yellow Submarine coasted in the top-four for Christmas.
All in all, since the beginning of the new campaign in mid-September, The Yellow Submarine have lost just once in 22 (12-9-1) competitive matches and that happened three months ago – when Villarreal suffered a 4-0 defeat against Barcelona at Camp Nou.
After a not particularly successful spell abroad, Unai Emery, who led Sevilla between 2013 and 2016 and was responsible for a remarkable record of three consecutive Europa League titles with the Andalusian side, returned to Spain and succeeded Javier Calleja at the Villarreal helm in July.
Former Sevilla boss Unai Emery remains without some injured first-team players such as left-back Alberto Moreno, who recovers from a long-term injury and is not expected to return until March, as well as the likes of defensive midfielder Vicente Iborra, and experienced centre-forward Paco Alcácer (five goals and two assists in 10 La Liga appearances so far), who should be fully fit after New Year.
Furthermore, captain Mario Gaspar picked up an injury early in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao last time out and Rubén Peña should once again deputize at right-back if the skipper is not fully fit to start.
Yéremi Pino was the golden substitute in that game as the 18-years-old domestic winger scored his third goal for the senior squad, minutes after he came off the bench to replace Juan Foyth. However, this was his first goal in La Liga, having previously scored for Villarreal’s 3-1 win at Qarabag in the UEFA Europa League, as well as the opener for a 6-0 win over Leioa in the Copa del Rey one week earlier.
Gerard Moreno (8 goals in 13 La Liga appearances) will remain in attack but Villarreal’s top goalscorer could lead in the line, particularly if either Samu Chukwueze or Yéremi Pino (with the latter tipped to be the chosen one following an impressive cameo against Athletic Bilbao) gets the nod to start over Fer Niño.
Colombian forward Carlos Bacca and French midfielder Francis Coquelin were both involved in Villarreal’s first training session on Sunday, after three days off, but it’s yet to be seen whether either of them will be in condition to make it to the matchday squad for Sevilla.
Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, Villarreal have reached an agreement to sign Watford player and former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Etienne Capoue but despite his experience, the 32-years-old defensive midfielder will surely need some time to adapt to the new atmosphere after seven years in the English top-flight.
Possible Starting Lineups of Sevilla and Villarreal
Sevilla: Yassine Bounou – Jesús Navas, Jules Koundé, Diego Carlos, Marcos Acuña – Ivan Rakitic, Fernando Reges, Joan Jordán – Lucas Ocampos, Luuk de Jong, Suso. (4-3-3)
Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo – Alfonso Pedraza, Pau Torres, Raúl Albiol, Rubén Peña – Manu Trigueros, Juan Foyth, Dani Parejo – Moi Gómez, Gerard Moreno, Yeremi Pino. (4-3-3)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
With five draws in Villarreal’s last six La Liga matches (1-5-0), another draw should be seriously considered and if you think so, you can get odds of +220 with BetOnline. Meanwhile, Villarreal can also be backed at +255.
Besides, although they remain unbeaten in six La Liga away games (2 wins and 4 draws), Villarreal are not favored to win here and we’re also backing Sevilla to finally win at their Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Spooky Express Free Play: Sevilla +116 @ BetOnline for 5/10 Units