Thursday 21 Sep

Villarreal vs Espanyol - Match Preview

20 Sep 2017 Ed Mackey SPAIN: LaLiga
SPAIN: LaLiga

Villarreal CF

  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

vs

Kick-off
18:00 GMT
21 September 2017

Espanyol Barcelona

  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W

Kick-off
18:00 GMT 21 September 2017

The European football season is in full swing and one of those leagues that has returned with a bang is La Liga. As many of the sides have played four matches already, two of the teams with a game-in-hand meet on Thursday night. Espanyol make the trip to Villarreal hoping to move away from the lower section of the table while the hosts will be looking to break into the top six at this early stage.

STATS

  • Villarreal’s first two games were extremely disappointing but with nine goals in their last three games, they have moved back towards the top of the table. Poor losses to Levante and Real Sociedad looked as though they could have been in for a tough season but they turned that around almost straight away.
  • Espanyol have been very average so far this term and a 1-1 draw against Sevilla on the opening day brought confidence. Losses to Leganes and Barcelona killed this confidence but their first win of the season against Celta Vigo in their last match has restored some of it.
  • Cedric Bakambu has taken off from where he left off last campaign and he leads the way in terms of Villarreal’s top goal scorers. He got off the mark with two goals against Alaves.
  • With just three goals this season so far, Espanyol have struggled to find a main goal scorer. Goals from Leo Baptistao, Pablo Piatti and Gerard Moreno have earned them four points.

HEAD TO HEAD

In the last 10 years, Espanyol have only beaten Villarreal twice and one of those came in 2008. In that run of 18 matches, eight of them ended with Villarreal picking up the three points while eight have ended as a draw. Of those draws, six of them have been goalless. It certainly isn’t a fixture that tends to produce goals with two defensive teams.

VILLARREAL NEWS

It is important that Villarreal pick up all three points in this one or they could drop away from the sides at the top end of the table. They have their number one goalkeeper, Sergio Asenjo, back in the side after returning to full training but Bruno, Adrian Marin and Andres Fernandez will all miss out through injury.

Latest matches: Villarreal CF

17.09.2017 LaLi CD Alaves Villarreal CF 0:3 W
14.09.2017 UEFA Villarreal CF FC Astana 3:1 W
10.09.2017 LaLi Villarreal CF Betis Sevilla 3:1 W
25.08.2017 LaLi Real Sociedad Villarreal CF 3:0 L
21.08.2017 LaLi Levante UD Villarreal CF 1:0 L

ESPANYOL NEWS

Avoiding defeat in this match would be seen as successful for Espanyol against one of the stronger Spanish teams like Villarreal. However, they are without Alvaro Vazquez, Javi Lopez and Oscar Duarte, all of which would start in their ideal line-up if they were fully fit. It could be tough for them without some of their stronger first-teamers.

Latest matches: Espanyol Barcelona

18.09.2017 LaLi Espanyol Barcelona Celta de Vigo 2:1 W
09.09.2017 LaLi FC Barcelona Espanyol Barcelona 5:0 L
27.08.2017 LaLi Espanyol Barcelona CD Leganes 0:1 L
19.08.2017 LaLi Sevilla FC Espanyol Barcelona 1:1 D
10.08.2017 Club SSC Napoli Espanyol Barcelona 2:0 L

SUMMARY

With home advantage and a stronger squad, there are no excuses for Villarreal not to come away from this match with all three points. Espanyol will come into the match full of confidence after an impressive win over Celta Vigo but they won’t have any quality to overcome the hosts. It could and should be very comfortable for Villarreal to win this match and with Espanyol’s struggles in front of goal, they should be able to keep a clean sheet.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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