Thursday 21 Feb

Villarreal vs Sporting - Match Preview

21 Feb 2019 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Knockout stage
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Knockout stage

Villarreal CF

  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

vs

Kick-off
17:55 GMT
21 February 2019

Sporting CP

  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Kick-off
17:55 GMT 21 February 2019

The UEFA Europa League is back this week as the last 32 ties are rounded off with the second legs being played on Thursday evening. One of the ties that still hangs in the balance is Villarreal vs Sporting which finished 1-0 to the Spanish side in the first leg.

STATS

  • Villarreal have been awful in La Liga this season as they find themselves in the relegation zone in 18th place. Their form in Europe has been much better though as they qualified top of their group and have a vital advantage in the first knockout round. That 1-0 win was made more important by the fact they netted an away goal.
  • Sporting won’t be too pleased with how they have performed in the league this term as they sit 4th nine points off top spot. They actually got more points in the group stage than their upcoming opponents but came 2nd behind Arsenal who were almost faultless. It’s a big uphill task for them to turn this tie around.
  • Villarreal’s lack of a star man in the league hasn’t been the same in Europe as Karl Toko Ekambi is leading the way for them with three goals and three assists.
  • Despite scoring 11 goals in their games, there hasn’t been a single Sporting player who has netted more than two Europa League goals this term.

HEAD TO HEAD

The only previous meeting between the two sides came last week in the first leg and it was Villarreal who came out on top thanks to Alfonso Pedraza’s 3rd-minute goal. Marcos Acuña was sent off late on to make it even worse for the Portuguese side who are in trouble of being dumped out.

VILLARREAL NEWS

If the home side can keep a clean sheet then they will secure passage to the last 16 but if they concede two then they could struggle. They are still without Daniele Bonera but Bruno Soriano might go back into the team as he returned to training this week.

Latest matches: Villarreal CF

17.02.2019 LaLi Villarreal CF Sevilla FC 3:0 W
14.02.2019 UEFA Sporting CP Villarreal CF 0:1 W
08.02.2019 LaLi Real Valladolid Villarreal CF 0:0 D
03.02.2019 LaLi Villarreal CF Espanyol Barcelona 2:2 D
26.01.2019 LaLi Valencia CF Villarreal CF 3:0 L

SPORTING NEWS

A first-half goal for Sporting is imperative on Thursday as they look to overturn the deficit. Acuña is obviously suspended whilst Jeremy Mathieu, Carlos Chaby and Rodrigo Battaglia are all injured.

Latest matches: Sporting CP

17.02.2019 Prim Sporting CP Sporting Braga 3:0 W
14.02.2019 UEFA Sporting CP Villarreal CF 0:1 L
10.02.2019 Prim CD Feirense Sporting CP 1:3 W
06.02.2019 Taca Benfica Lisbon Sporting CP 2:1 L
03.02.2019 Prim Sporting CP Benfica Lisbon 2:4 L

SUMMARY

It should be plain sailing for Villarreal to progress into the next round but their form has been abysmal this season and that may continue. Sporting need to score a goal so backing both teams to score might be wise while the draw looks an attractive price.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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