Villarreal boosted their survival hopes with an impressive away win over Sevilla and the Yellow Submarine now aim to escape further away from the relegation zone. Granada also climbed out of the bottom three, having beaten Betis and Malaga, and they now hope to avoid defeat at El Madrigal.
Villarreal back in business
It would be an understatement to say that everybody in Spain were surprised to see Villarreal struggle in the first part of the season, seeing that the Yellow Submarine had been regarded as one of the best sides in Spanish La Liga, excluding the El Clasico rivals. The departure of Santi Cazorla, Giuseppe Rossi’s injury and Nilmar’s desire to leave the club have had a devastating effect on team’s performances, and club chiefs were forced to sack coach Juan Carlos Garrido after the Yellow Submarine dropped into the relegation zone. Villarreal have shown a considerable improvement under new boss Jose Molina and it is now clear that the lack of confidence and the poor atmosphere were the main problems in the first part of the season. The El Madrigal outfit has finally started playing to their potential, with victories over Sporting Gijon and Sevilla the perfect proof. Meanwhile, Villarreal also shared spoils with mighty Barcelona, after completely outplaying their more illustrious rivals, so the hosts can be trusted to continue the good run against struggling Granada.
Nilmar could be back in contention after his proposed move to Sao Paolo fell through, whereas Joan Oriol had his red card rescinded and is available to face Granada. However, Bruno Soriano is suspended, whereas Catala and Giuseppe Rossi remain sidelined.
Granada had a dismal start to the season despite the fact that club management had done well to reinforce the squad over the summer. Los Filipinos went on to show a lot of improvement in November and December, but the club chiefs, nonetheless, decided to sack coach Fabri Gonzalez after the three-match losing run in January. The arrival of Abel Resino had a very positive effect on the team as they beat Real Betis and Malaga to finally escape the relegation zone. The players have restored some of the lost confidence and enter the Villarreal game in good spirits, although they are aware everybody will have to work really hard if they are to stop in-form Villarreal from winning this game. Granada players are technically inferior to their next opponents and now that the Yellow Submarine are back to their best, they are likely to face a very tough task at El Madrigal.
Hassan Yebda is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, whereas Mikel Rico is a major doubt.
Villarreal are on top of their game at the moment and when that is the case the Yellow Subamarine can beat much stronger sides than Granada. The visitors have shown some improvement under the new boss, but they still cannot be trusted to get something from this game.
Our prediction: Villarreal with -0.75 Asian handicap
Odds: 1.88 (8/9)