Villarreal make the trip to the Turner Stadium to face Hapoel Be’er Sheva for their second Group C fixture in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.
While the Yellow Submarine won a seven-goal thriller in their opening group game, their Israeli counterparts played out a goalless draw last week.
After two successive defeats in the Israeli top flight, Hapoel Be’er Sheva picked up a point in their opening Europa League group game against Austria Vienna last week.
Elyaniv Barda’s side failed to register a single shot on target in the 90 minutes, but their defensive resilience was one positive they could take away from their draw in the Austrian capital.
Be’er Sheva did managed to find their goalscoring touch in the Israeli Premier League last Sunday as they came from behind on two occasions to win 3-2 away against Hapoel Tel Aviv, with Eugene Ansah scoring an 82nd winner.
The Camels are now preparing for their first ever meeting in European competition with Group C favourites Villarreal. Their only previous encounter against Spanish opposition was back in the 1995-96 UEFA Cup when they suffered a 12-0 aggregate defeat in a first-round tie against Barcelona.
Villarreal followed up their comfortable 4-0 La Liga win over Elche by scoring four more goals in their entertaining 4-3 victory over Lech Poznan in the Europa League last week.
After falling behind in just the second minute, the Yellow Submarine scored three goals before half time through Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Baena (2), but Poznan restored parity with a second-half brace from Mikael Ishak. Unai Emery’s side were seemingly on course to claim a point until Francis Coquelin netted an 89th-minute winner.
That result extended Villarreal’s unbeaten start to the new campaign to seven matches, but this run has since come to an end as they were beaten 1-0 away at Real Betis in La Liga last weekend.
Emery and co will be confident of returning to winning ways on Thursday, especially on home soil where they have lost just two of their last 18 competitive games.
However, Villarreal have won only one of their previous four European matches against Israeli opposition and drew their only two away visits in 2017 and 2020 against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Hapoel Be’er Sheva Europa Conference League form:
Hapoel Be’er Sheva form (all competitions):
Villarreal Europa Conference League form:
Villarreal form (all competitions):
We say: Hapoel Be’er Sheva 1-3 Villarreal
With Villarreal set to make several changes to their starting lineup, a close affair could be on the cards on Thursday.
However, the visitors should still have enough quality in their side to come away with all three points in Israel.