Atalanta vs Villarreal predictions and match preview for Thursday’s UEFA Champions League fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as the Yellow Submarine target a place in the knockout stage after Wednesday’s scheduled fixture was called off due to heavy snow.
|Date||Thursday 9th December 2021|
|Kick-Off||19:00 (local time)|
|Competition||UEFA Champions League Group Stage|
Atalanta vs Villarreal Preview
Villarreal travel to Italy for a decisive Champions League clash against Atalanta. The Yellow Submarine are badly in need of a boost in what has been a disappointing season so far and progress into the last 16 of the UCL would certainly provide it.
The Spanish side will qualify in 2nd place with a draw and there are no complicated permutations here with this match a straight shootout between the two teams for qualification. Victory for Atalanta would see the Italians through and would leave Villarreal with the consolation prize of Europa League football and the chance to defend the trophy they won in May.
Villarreal fans would be able to stomach that setback a bit more readily if things were going better at home. They are having a difficult season in LaLiga with just 3 wins from 15 matches so far leaving them in 13th place. The latest setback was a 1-0 defeat at Sevilla at the weekend and although again the performance was better than the result, that recurring theme points to more than just bad luck.
The good news is that Gerard Moreno is fit again and once he is back up to full match fitness, they should be much more clinical in front of goal. However they really need a big performance from their talisman here and despite his achievements last term, Unai Emery will start to come under real pressure if he can’t deliver a result.
Atalanta have been one of the “small club” success stories at the top end of European football in the last few years. There is certainly common ground between them and Villarreal but it is the Italians who boast more Champions League experience and they will be hoping that stands them in good stead with the Bergamo side having made it through the group stage in each of the last two seasons.
They take really good form into this game too. They’ve gone 10 without defeat in all competitions since a 3-2 loss at Old Trafford earlier in this group and they’ve won 5 of their last 6, scoring plenty of goals in the process as is generally their way. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side won 3-2 at Napoli at the weekend and are currently just 4 points off the top of Serie A.
Head to Head
- The sides drew 2-2 earlier in the group at the Ceramica.
- They had never previously met.
Robin Gosens and Matteo Lovato are both out injured for the home team.
Yeremi Pino is banned for Villarreal who have a slight doubt over Arnaut Danjuma.
Atalanta vs Villarreal Predictions
Score Prediction: Atalanta 2-2 Villarreal
Atalanta will be the clear favourites here but there are reasons to be optimistic from a Villarreal perspective. For starters, if there is one thing they are good at, it’s drawing matches and that’s all they need to do here. They’ve been in plenty of pressure situations in Europe in 2021 and it hasn’t fazed them and the Yellow Submarine may just have enough to get the result they need here against an Atalanta side that has only won 4 of their 10 home games this season in all competitions, and is often more comfortable on the road.
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