Villarreal’s hopes of Europa League qualification hang in the balance after a poor run of form, but the Yellow Submarine look in a strong position to qualify for the Europa Conference League again.
Quique Setien’s side sit four points behind Real Betis and seven behind Real Sociedad as they reside in 6th place, and have Rayo Vallecano and Athletic Club three points adrift, but both having played a game more.
All three of Real Sociedad, Betis and Villarreal were eliminated from Europe on Thursday, meaning there is a level footing in terms of fixture congestion for the run-in.
Villarreal are set to face Real Sociedad and Athletic Club at home in what could be “six pointers” in the pursuit for Europe, whilst tough trips to Rayo and Real Madrid also form part of the final 13.
Athletic Club face Betis and Villarreal within two weeks of each other towards the end of the campaign, and these two matches could play a huge role in determining the final table.
Rayo face Villarreal, Betis and Real Madrid in three of their final four games, and Villarreal will hope that this tough end to the season makes Andoni Iraola’s side fall behind.
Seven of Villarreal, Athletic Club’s and Betis’ final 13 are home games, compared to six for Rayo.
Villarreal’s form needs to improve drastically though. The Conference League exit to Anderlecht was another hugely disappointing result in what has been a tough few months under Quique Setien, and missing out on Europe overall could prove costly.
A top-four spot is probably out of reach, but qualifying for the Europa League could be a game-changer for the club, as it could open the door for higher quality players, and even a manager, to join than the Conference League would.