In his pre match press conference, Unai Emery summed up the situation here pretty well. He pointed out first, that because of the COVID situation we will not really know who is available until the last minute and second, that Levante is a very talented team, regardless of their place in the table. Both realities will factor heavily into this one.
I said a few weeks ago that Levante might actually be the best last place side I’ve ever seen in La Liga. They’ve scored 19 goals this campaign, which is more than 7 other teams in the league, and they’ve drawn Atleti, Athletic Club, and Real Madrid while also hanging three goals on Sevilla and Espanyol in losses. They are bad in the back, but they are also chaotic and dangerous and cannot be taken lightly. The sort of mistakes in the back that have plagued us this season are the exact sort of thing they are capable of capitalizing on.
It is worth noting that our old friend Roberto Soldado is suspended for this one after a red card.
I really don’t know for sure who we will or won’t have, so I’m gonna focus here on our league situation. A win moves us level on points with Valencia in 8th. We’ll still be be behind them because of tiebreakers but we would only be four points out of fourth place after exactly half the season’s games. La Liga is so tight, overall, that I can’t complain too much about being in the CL knockouts and also being that close to top four. If we lose or draw this match, of course, that’s another matter. After a break from La Liga action in the Copa Del Rey, we face a massive contest with Atletico Madrid in the league, the current 4th place team, and whether we are four or seven points behind them going into that one drastically changes how desperate we are for it.
Ideally, we would win this one, pulling closer to Atleti, then be able to afford a draw in that one knowing that Elche and Mallorca to follow which are both very winnable contests.
If we have a relatively full complement of players, I think we can win this one 3-2.
Edited for Lineups:
Here's the match sheet for #VillarrealLevante! pic.twitter.com/8PjoYStC4Y— Villarreal CF English (@VillarrealCFen) January 3, 2022
The Dia/Gerard partnership looked great against Alaves, and I’m excited to have Samu out wide, but that midfield pairing worries me. Not a lot of pace for ball disruption there going against a very talented attack.