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Villarreal—Levante GAMETHREAD

Villarreal v Real Valladolid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Levante visit the Ceramica in our first match of 2021—Paco Lopez and the granotes (frogs) got off to a slow start in La Liga, but they have been coming good of late. Three home victories against Getafe, Real Sociedad and Betis have them on 18 points, among a bunch of teams in the middle of the table.

Both teams enter this match with a lot of missing players. Villarreal, of course, are missing Coquelin, Iborra, Alberto Moreno, Mario (now out for a couple of months, apparently) and while Paco Alcácer has been practicing with the first time, he’s not back to 100% yet. Juan Foyth picked up a foot injury against Sevilla so may not be available, too—and new signing Étienne Capoué can’t be officially registered until January 4th.

Levante have missing players too, most notably José Campaña, and Enos Bardhi is doubtful. Rober Pier is suspended after picking up a red card last time out. In Campaña’s absence, José Luis Morales, who anchors the right side of midfield in Levante’s 4-4-2, is their creator and leading goal scorer (6 goals) while Roger Marti has 5.

All-time record: Well, not really all-time, as these two clubs played each other in lower divisions too, but in the Primera, we’re 7-2-2 against Levante at home, 7-0-4 away. You’ll remember last February we defeated Levante 2-1 in front of 17,224 fans, just weeks before the world and the season would change.

Trivia: This will the third match Levante have played in Vila-real this season; they lost 1-0 to Real Madrid and drew 1-1 with Celta, using our ground while theirs was being renovated.

Prediction: I’m going to be optimistic and say 2-1 to Villarreal, but it could just as easily be 2-1 the other way or a 1-1 draw. With our injuries, who knows.