Villarreal vs Real Zaragoza

April 17, 2011
By: John Hansen

After securing the passage into the Europa League semis, Villarreal shift their focus to the La Liga campaign, and they are hoping to cement the fourth place in the standings with a win over Zaragoza. Los Manos, on the other hand, sit just above the bottom three and they are hoping to bring at least one point back from El Madrigal.

Villarreal chasing European glory

Villarreal boss Juan Carlos Garrido hasn’t had an easy job this season with the club having big ambitions in both La Liga and Europa League, but his rotation policy really paid off, as witnessed by the fact that the Yellow Submarine are on the road to make this a very successful season. Villarreal proved their title credentials by eliminating such sides as Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen and Twente from the Europa League, thus earning the tie with Porto in the semi-final. On the other hand, the Yellow Submarine are close to securing a Champions League berth in La Liga, seeing they are now eight points clear of the fifth-placed Sevilla. Nonetheless, Juan Carlos Garrido wants his team to secure the fourth place as soon as possible, so that they could later fully focus on winning the Europa League title and that is why Villarreal will give their best to beat struggling Zaragoza. After resting several starters in the Twente game, Garrido will field his best side against Zaragoza.

Nilmar and Cazorla return after European suspension, but Gonzalo Rodriguez, Marcos Senna and Xavi Oliva remain sidelined.

Zaragoza struggling on the travels

Real Zaragoza seem to have more potential than they are showing, but the poor start of the season and the pressure that comes with being involved in the relegation fight have prevented los Manos from realizing their true potential. After spending a big part of the season in the bottom three, Zaragoza have finally left the relegation zone thanks to some impressive performances at La Romareda, but their poor away record gives them little reason for optimism before the trip to El Madrigal. Having picked up just one point from last five away games, los Manos look destined for yet another setback. Coach Javier Aguirre is pondering a formation with no less than five defenders, but that will give Villarreal even more space in midfield, which is something the Yellow Submarine will know how to exploit.

Maurizio Lanzaro returned to the side following a one-month spell on the sidelines and he should keep his place in the side, while Jiri Jarosik returns from a suspension. Matteo Contini remains sidelined.


Villarreal are brimming with confidence following the double win over Twente and after resting several starters in that game, Juan Carlos Garrido is set to field his strongest line-up. Real Zaragoza are simply awful on the travels and I don’t see how they can avoid defeat at El Madrigal.

Our prediction: Home win with -1 Asian handicap

Odds: 2.08 (27/25)

Bookmaker: Bet365

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