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Villarreal vs Sevilla: La Liga Gamethread

Unai Emery takes on his former club in a crucial league match.

Real Valladolid CF v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

I’ll be working until almost exactly kickoff time tomorrow so one of you wonderful yellows drop those lineups in the comments for me if you will. After posting the preview, someone said in the comments that Capoue is suspended for this one on accumulation of yellows. I checked on fbref and of course yep, he has five yellow cards.

If Coquelin can play as well as he did in the Arsenal second leg, though, we’ll be fine. The key here is simply to be decisive in transition, something that hasn’t been our best trait this season. Sevilla are second in the league for overall possession, we’re fourth, but last time we faced them we saw 57% of the ball and did basically nothing with it (only six shots created). We’ll have to be better today and the best way to do that, I think, is to move the ball out quickly when Sevilla first turns it over. If Sevilla get the chance to set up their defensive shape they are very hard to break down and they have a very good goalkeeper back there.

We need it worse than they do, the key will simply be acting like it on the pitch. I know the players have the Final in the back of their minds, but there is work to do in La Liga first.

Any point will ensure European football next season, but we need wins to guarantee ourselves something better than the UEFA Conference regardless of how the UEL Final turns out. The best thing about the Real Valladolid match, for me, was that Gerard looked like his old self again after a few matches being less effective than he’d been at the start of the year. Hopefully that continues because we need him in our last two matches.

One parting comment. I saw it circulating around that Emery wanted our match with Real Madrid moved because of its proximity to the UEL Final. I understand the impulse but I don’t think moving the match is the right decision. The last two rounds of La Liga are being played simultaneously for a reason. It’s good for competitive equity, and the match between us and Madrid will have a lot on the line. Manchester United will be playing on the 23rd as well, so we don’t lose anything on that score to our direct competition, and Emery always has the freedom to rest whoever he wants in that last league match.


Hit me in the comments with whatever you think about the match!