Preview: Villarreal vs. Espanyol

Preview: Villarreal vs. Espanyol

Villarreal will be bidding to continue their impressive run of form in Spain’s top flight when they welcome Espanyol to Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday afternoon.

The Yellow Submarine, who are sixth in the table, recorded a 4-1 win over Granada last weekend, while Espanyol held title-challenging Sevilla to a 1-1 draw, which has left them in 14th.

Villarreal were in Champions League action during the week, playing out a 1-1 draw with Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 affair; Dusan Vlahovic sent the Old Lady ahead inside the first minute, but Dani Parejo was on the scoresheet for the Spanish outfit in the 66th minute.

Unai Emery’s side should be full of confidence at the moment, losing just once in Spain’s top flight since the start of December, while they have picked up 10 points from their last four matches, beating Mallorca, Real Betis and Granada, in addition to sharing the points with Real Madrid.

Last weekend, Villarreal were 4-1 winners at Granada, with Arnaut Danjuma scoring three times in a brilliant performance, and the result has left the Yellow Submarine in sixth spot in the table.

Emery’s team are only one point clear of seventh-placed Real Sociedad but sit just three points behind fourth-placed Barcelona and are certainly not out of the picture when it comes to a possible top-four finish.

Villarreal’s home form this season has also been impressive, picking up 25 points from their 13 matches, which is the fourth-best record in the division, and they will be taking on an Espanyol outfit that have won just once on their travels in Spain’s top flight this term, collecting seven points from 12 matches.

Espanyol, meanwhile, have picked up positive results in their last two matches, holding Barcelona to a 2-2 draw in the Barcelona derby before playing out a 1-1 with Sevilla last weekend.

Vicente Moreno’s side are without a victory in Spain’s top flight since the end of December, though, and the winless run has seen them drop into 14th position in the table, nine points clear of the bottom three.

The White and Blues secured a return to the top flight by winning last season’s Segunda Division, and they will be bidding to consolidate at this level once again following their surprise relegation.

It would be a huge surprise if they were pulled into any trouble in the final weeks of the campaign, but Moreno will be desperate to put a victory on the board as soon as possible; they have some winnable games to come as well, taking on Getafe, Levante and Mallorca in their next three.

Espanyol actually beat Villarreal in the corresponding match during the 2019-20 La Liga season, while they have lost just one of their last seven top-flight games against the Yellow Submarine, so the visitors should enter this match in good confidence despite the form of their opponents.

Villarreal La Liga form:
Villarreal form (all competitions):
Espanyol La Liga form:
Espanyol form (all competitions):

We say: Villarreal 2-1 Espanyol
Villarreal’s confidence will have grown with their performance against Juventus during the week, and the home side are the strong favourites to pick up three points here. Espanyol have held Barcelona and Sevilla in their last two home games, but we are expecting them to lose this match 2-1.

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