VILLARREAL VS LEGANES PREVIEW & PREDICTION
Villarreal still has excellent papers for European football, although the Spanish subtopper has been struggling with her form in recent months. In that respect, the home game against Leganes is called, because the visitors do not bake much outside of Madrid.
Villarreal was one of the revelations of the first half of the season, but after the winter break, the yellow shirts turn a lot stiffer. El Submarino Amarillo only won three of her last nine league matches and had to settle last weekend in and against Sevilla with a run: 1-1. “We have to defend our sixth place at any cost,” said trainer Javi Calleja. That is easier said than done, because with close assailants like Sevilla, Girona and Celta de Vigo is the tension in the struggle to cut European football.
The decline of Villarreal is mainly due to the lack of scoring power. Last winter, El Submarino Amarillo goalkeeper Cedric Bakambu sold for a lot of money to the Chinese Superleague, but without him there is little to cheer at the Ceramica. Fortunately, Carlos Bacca finally starts to score a bit again. Also last weekend against his old employer Sevilla, the Colombian managed to make the net shine again, so he was now good for three goals in his last five matches. The new 4-2-3-1 system with Bacca as deep striker seems to him well.
The job has already been done for Leganes. “We now have a lot of physical preservation,” trainer Asier Garitano said after the 1-0 victory over Celta de Vigo. With 39 points and a lead of no less than thirteen points on the relegation zone it can indeed no longer go wrong for Los Pepineros, who despite their minimal resources can look back on an excellent season.
Leganes is, however, a typical home club, because once outside of their own Butarque, blue-whites usually have a hard time. The last win in Liga dates from more than six months ago (Malaga-out: 0-2 / 15 October), although the team managed to stifle with 1-2 in between at Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey. The good news is that club top scorer Gabriel Pires (five goals) will be available again after a suspension and will start again straight away on Tuesday-evening. That’s a good thing too, because we do not expect much from attackers like Miguel Angel Guerrero (three goals), Claudio Beauvue (two goals) and Nordin Amrabat (a goal).
PREDICTION: Villarreal to win @ 1.58