After a rare road win at the Sanchez Pizjuan, Villarreal get ready to entertain a gritty Granada at El Madrigal. Granada won the first fixture at Los Carmenes by a goal from Chuku Uche, a Villarreal player playing at Granada on loan. Lots of things have changed eversince. Uche hasnt scored again in the league, both teams have new coaches and the trajectory of the two teams is generally positive in the past few weeks. Ex-Atlético Abel Resino debuted with two wins in a row for Granada. Granada are 14th with 25 points, two points ahead of the Submarine. A win is essential for Villarreal to distance themselves away from the drop-zone.
Granada have scored fewer goals than us, but they are very organized at the back and don't let in a lot of goals. Despite all the questions marks surrounding the front office, their relation and dealings with Udinese, on the field they look like a team that will stay up in the Primera.
Tactics and Match-ups
Granada plays a typical 4-2-3-1. Their top goalscorer is the Nigerian forward Ighalo with just three goals followed by five others with two goals apiece. They have a stable back-four with the excellent Roberto(yes, yet another goalkeeper named Roberto) between the posts. According to Whoscored.com he has one of the highest number of saves in #LaLiga. Fullbacks Siquiera on the left and Nyom on the right are good going foward and are a key source of attacks.
Yebda who has been very good in the double-pivot for Granada will miss this game due to suspension. Dani Benitez's pace on the left wing is a constant source of worry for the opponents. Miquel Rico, Carlos Martins add teeth to the attack of Granada.
Villarreal will miss Bruno and Gonzalo due to suspensions from accumulation of yellow cards. The big news from Vila-real is that Nilmar has been named to the squad for the first time since the Valencia game. This is a good sign for the Submarine. Youngster Joselu has gone back to Villarreal B.
One of Joan Oriol's card has been rescinded which means he can play. This helps the defence a lot because there isnt a back-up left back available in the A team or the B team.
Castellani will probably come in for Bruno in the double-pivot. The youngster has shown a lot of promise and he merits a chance playing in the starting XI.
Right flank of Villarreal
Ángel goes up against Dani Benitez and Siquiera. This matchup favors the Andalucians on paper. Ángel will need help from Cani/Borja and the midfielders Senna and Castellani(or Marchena)
Senna + Castellani is better than any combination Granada might put out in the double-pivot. If Villarreal can exercise there superiority here, the game will become that much easier for the Submarine.
Aerial threat of Granada
Five out of the 16 goals of Granada came off of headers. Villarreal need to be wary of this especially because they are not particularly good at defending in the air. Zapata's inclusion in place of the suspended Gonzalo might help the cause to an extent, due to his height.
Nilmar or Martinuccio?
Ruben is fit and is back. The question is who will he be paired with? I am going with Nilmar but I believe Martinuccio will see significant minutes in this game.
Villarreal 4-4-2 - Likely XI
Granada 4-2-3-1 - Likely XI
Roberto;Nyom-Mainz-Iñigo Lopez-Siquiera;Miquel Rico-Fran Rico;Uche-Martins-Benitez;Geijo
This will be a tough game for Villarreal, despite playing at home. Teams like Granada with organized defence and a lethal counterattack pose a lot of problems to Villarreal. This will be a close one.