Unlike many Europa League match-ups, these two have not only faced each other often over the years but they are also in the same domestic league. On one hand, this means we’re not getting the kind of one-off contest which excites so many fans when it comes to the Europa League. On the other though, it does perhaps make trying to predict the result here a little more straightforward.
Much can be understood through the La Liga standings, where Valencia find themselves nudging towards the top quarter. Meanwhile, Villarreal gasp for air in the relegation drop zone. However, this is a different competition and presents a chance for Villarreal to showcase their talents away from the pressures of La Liga. Whether they will seize it remains to be seen.
Villarreal vs Valencia Prediction: Villarreal 0-1 Valencia
Unfortunately for the home team, the La Liga does remain the best indicator we have of the success of these two in recent months. It’s where they play most of their games and, when you consider the gulf between them in terms of points and performance, you can’t say that Valencia have simply been lucky all this time. We do acknowledge that Villarreal have had good showings outside the domestic league. They are here, after all. But the evidence is overwhelming. Valencia have simply played better in recent months. With that in mind, our scoreline prediction is 1-0 to Valencia in a close victory.
Our recommended tip: Valencia win
We’ve already mentioned that the away side are performing better in the La Liga than their upcoming opponents. In fact, Valencia sit 12 positions and 16 points above Villarreal in the standings. Despite this though, bookmakers are expecting their Europa League clash to be much closer. At Ladbrokes, the odds are virtually the same, with Valencia just edging ahead for the advantage. Both have medium-risk match odds but the away side’s 13/8 odds are ever so slightly safer than Villarreal’s 7/4. Therefore, considering our predicted scoreline, we recommend that you back the slight favourites to victory.
Considering these two are in the same domestic league, it should be little surprise that they’ve had plenty of matches over the years. Their last encounter from January this year is another blow to the confidence of the home team, as they lost 3-0 to their upcoming opponents. It’s not all doom and gloom for Villarreal fans though, as that was Valencia’s last win in this fixture in five games. Before that, they trade wins and losses from 2010. With one side having comprehensively won their most recent encounter, while the other is ahead in recent years overall , we’d say neither has the clear historical advantage.
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Players to watch: Gerald Moreno & Rodrigo
Villarreal: Gerald Moreno
Arguably Villarreal’s most valuable player when it came to their previous round in the Europa League, Gerald Moreno struck twice in both legs, allowing his team to ease through to this quarter-final. He was also deadly on the assist, making him an all-round terror to his now vanquished opponents. A source of positivity during a rather dreadful La Liga season, he’s been fantastic thus far in the Europa League. If he can pull out a similar performance here, there’s no doubt Valencia will have their hands full.
Gonçalo Guedes was a serious consideration here following his brilliant injury-time winner in the second leg against Krasnodar. However, because of his sensational brace in the first leg, we’re going to have to go with Rodrigo. That’s not to mention his excellent form throughout the domestic season. A key player that’s a danger to any defence, Rodrigo could once again be vital to Valencia’s success.