Preview: Villarreal vs. Granada

Preview: Villarreal vs. Granada

Villarreal will be looking to bounce back from their UEFA Super Cup disappointment when they open their 2021-22 La Liga campaign at home to Granada on Monday night.

The Yellow Submarine, who won the Europa League last term, lost on penalties to Chelsea in the Super Cup on Wednesday, but this will be Granada’s first competitive fixture in three months.

Villarreal won 15, drew 13 and lost 10 of their 38 La Liga matches last season to finish seventh, three points behind sixth-place Sevilla and some 19 points behind Sevilla in fourth position.

The Yellow Submarine will compete in the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League, though, courtesy of their win over Manchester United in last season’s Europa League final; the two teams could not be separated at the end of 120 minutes, but Unai Emery’s side won 11-10 in the penalty shootout.

Villarreal also played out a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday night, but they lost the shootout 6-5 on this occasion, with Aissa Mandi and Raul Albiol missing their spot kicks against the Blues.

Emery’s side have signed Juan Foyth on a permanent deal this summer, while they have also brought in Boulaye Dia, Manu Morlanes and Mandi to boost the squad for the 2021-22 campaign.

Villarreal will be expecting to push closer to the top four this term, and it will be fascinating to see how the team perform in their first Champions League group-stage campaign since 2011-12.

Granada, meanwhile, secured a third straight season at this level of football courtesy of finishing ninth last season, with 13 wins, seven draws and 18 defeats seeing them collect 46 points.

The Andalusian side have finished seventh and ninth since returning to the top flight, and they are now under the leadership of former Spain boss Robert Moreno, who has replaced Diego Martinez at the helm.

Granada have not spent a transfer fee on any player this summer, but they have managed to bring in Luis Abram, Carlos Bacca and Monchu, while Roberto Soldado, Rui Silva and Fede Vico have moved on.

Moreno’s team have played five friendlies this summer, recording three victories, including back-to-back wins over Linense and Malaga in their final two pre-season fixtures.

Granada have not actually beaten Villarreal in Spain’s top flight since 2014, but the corresponding match during the 2020-21 campaign ended in a 2-2 draw.

Villarreal form (all competitions):
Granada pre-season form:

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