Villarreal vs Levante

January 23, 2015
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Having moved a step closer to the Copa del Rey semi-finals, Villarreal resume their La Liga campaign by hosting relegation strugglers Levante, looking to further improve their league position. Los Granotes remained in the bottom three as they lost to Elche, and they now face an even tougher task of avoiding defeat at El Madrigal.

Impressive on all fronts

With the team having played Champions League football not so long ago, Villarreal officials are well aware of the advantages of the big squad and they have made sure coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has plenty of quality options at his disposal. The good transfer strategy is proving incredibly important this season as the Yellow Submarine have made it to Europa League knockout stages and are on the verge of reaching Copa del Rey semis, despite the fact that the boss mostly used back-up players in the two competitions. Meanwhile, the strongest side have largely impressed in La Liga, cementing a Europa League berth and coming close to Champions League positions. After the 2-0 league triumph over Athletic Bilbao, the second string side completely outclassed Getafe in Copa del Rey, but were pretty unfortunate to only record a narrow win with youngster Gerard Moreno missing a number of clear-cut chances. But, with the likes of Luciano Vietto and Ikechukwu Uche set to be recalled, just like all other starters, chances are Villarreal will be back to scoring ways when they host out-of-form Levante at their El Madrigal.

Winger Denis Cheryshev misses out through suspension, but defender Mateo Musacchio is available after completing his ban in midweek.

Destined for the drop?

Just few years back, Levante were playing European football and doing really well in La Liga, but having seen a number of key players leave since without proper replacements signed, nobody is too surprised to see the team languishing in the bottom three. Los Granotes have been pretty disappointing from the very start to the season, especially when facing top table sides, and having lost to Villarreal 2-0 at home, they have little to hope for ahead of the return match. While the team showed some promise in the Copa del Rey double header with Malaga, they have been pretty disappointing in the league of late, failing to win any of their last seven fixtures. Seeing as Levante could not score a single goal in matches against fellow strugglers Deportivo and Elche, they cannot exactly be trusted to fare any better when facing in-form Villarreal. Unlike themselves, the Yellow Submarine did play a match in midweek, but with Marcelino resting almost all first team regulars, that is unlikely to have any effect on the outcome of this match.

David Navarro and Simao both miss out through suspension, whilst Hector Rodas is out injured. Nicos Karabelas and David Barral are back in contention.


Villarreal have been thoroughly impressive at home of late, winning last six matches without conceding and they will have too much quality for weak Levante. The visitors are very low on confidence after yet another defeat to relegation rivals and they will be happy to avoid a heavy loss at El Madrigal.

Top pick: Villarreal/Villarreal   1.90 (9/10) @ BetVictor

Alternative pick 1: Villarreal -1.5 AH   1.92 (23/25) @ bet365

Alternative pick 2: Villarreal to win to nil   2.00 (1/1) @ Paddy Power

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