Villarreal welcome Valencia to the Ceramica on Saturday. The formbook says to pick Villarreal in this one, because Valencia haven’t won in four matches, while Villarreal have won their last two home matches. However, when these two teams are concerned, you can throw the formbook away. This is always a hotly contested match, and with a Marcelino team visiting Vila-real for the first time since his dismissal, it could be tasty indeed!
Valencia are all but confirmed as finishing in fourth place, which under the new Champions League format means they automatically grab a group stage place and lots of cash. Los Che don’t have quite the defensive solidity that Marcelino craves, at least not yet, but Dani Parejo and Geoffrey Kondogbia in midfield and the attacking trio of Santi Mina, Rodrigo and Simone Zaza (only two on the pitch at the same time of course, given Marce’s devotion to the 4-4-2) have been the keys to their success this season.
For Villarreal, a win in this match would not guarantee sixth place and an entry into the Europa League group stage (and a lot less UEFA cash than Valencia will see in the CL) but it would be a huge step forward. Coach Calleja will stay with his 4-2-3-1, and Carlos Bacca will be the one up top for sure after his hat trick last week. In fact, except for possibly starting Jaume Costa at left back, I doubt anything will change in Villarreal’s starting XI.
Prediction: I’m really unsure about this one—my mind says this could be most anything. I’ll go for Villarreal 2-1 Valencia, mostly because I don’t think this will end in a draw and I think both sides will score. Endavant!!!!