After an impressive draw against FC Barcelona last week, the Yellow submarine visits Ramón Sanchez Pizjuán, where they have one of their worst records. In ten trips, they have accumulated a grand total of 3 points. The team's confidence is on the way up owing to some good results at home but Villarreal along with Zaragoza are the only teams without a win away from home this season. In fact Villarreal haven't won away from El Madrigal in 11 months. Sitting in 18th position a couple of points away from safety, a win would certainly go a long way in settling the nerves of the yellow faithful.
Sevilla on the other hand have been in a terrible funk of late. They come into this game with a 6-game winless streak. After a bright start to the season where they were unbeaten in the first eight games of the season including an impressive 0-0 at the Camp Nou, they have struggled. Lack of consistency upfront owing to injuries to Alvaro Negredo, the under-performing Manu del Moral have a lot to do with that. The diminishing impact of the aging Freddi Kanoute isnt helping either.
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What is more concerning is the apparent disharmony between coach Marcelino and some of the players like Kanoute and Alexis. Conflicting statements, questionable line-ups all point to a team in some trouble. A rejuvenated Jesus Navas has been the lone bright spot for Sevilla this season.
These two teams played an entertaining 2-2 draw at El Madrigal where Villarreal took the lead after being down to 10-men but conceded a late equalizer. With Alvaro Negredo out injured and starting defender Spahic out suspended an Sevilla team in all sorts of trouble, Villarreal wont get a better opportunity to get good result away from home.
Negredo is in the squad (thanks Kenez) and he is likely to start.
Teams and Tactics
Sevilla normally plays in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Medel, Rakitic or Trochowski rotate in the double-pivot position. Navas on the right is a fixture and the main source of attacks from the right. José Antonio Reyes is back in Sevilla and has added some bite to their attacking third but lack of consistency from center-forward position is their main worry. They are much more dangerous when Negredo plays upfront. Manu del Moral hasnt been as effective as he was with Getafe last season.
Danger from set-pieces: Sevilla are very dangerous from the set-pieces even without Negredo. Fazio, F.Navarro are strong in the air and can cause a lot problems to the Villarreal defence who arent that good in the air.
Missing Ruben: Villarreal will miss Ruben's scrappiness a lot both in attack and defence. Nilmar is not in the squad again despite having only the youngster Joselu and the new signing Martinucchio who is set to debut at the Sanchez Pizjuán.
Physical play: Sevilla likes to get physical against their opponents. The midfield battle between Bruno-Senna & Rakitic-Medel will be the key. On paper Villarreal have the advantage in this match-up but if Sevilla can impose their phyiscal play, it will be much harder for the team in yellow.
Wing play: The impressive Oriol will go up against the speedy Jesus Navas, probably the fastest right-winger he has ever played against. Borja Valero might have to share some of the defensive duties tracking back to keep Navas' runs in check. On the right side Perotti will go up against the slower Ángel, a matchup that favors Sevilla. Cani will have a significant role to keep Perotti in check.
Perotti is out injured. I expect Manu del Moral to play in his position.
Varas; Coke-Escudé-Fazio-Navarro; Medel-Rakitic; Navas-Reyes-Manu del Moral; Negredo
Lopez; Ángel-Gonzalo-Musacchio-Oriol; Bruno-Senna; Cani-Borja; Joselu-Camuñas/Martinucchio
There is no Nilmar in the squad. Yet I believe Molina will field a 4-4-2 formation. The question is who will pair Joselu upfront. Camuñas could get the nod purely because Martinucchio has yet to play a minute for Villarreal. But we will certainl see Martinucchio in the 2nd half of the game.
1-0 Sevilla. The game will be very close, well contested and a defensive error will determine the rest of the game.
Endavant Villarreal! Vamos submarino.