Villarreal vs Juventus predictions and match preview for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Unai Emery’s team aim to upset the Italian giants.
|Tuesday 22nd February 2021
|21:00 (local time)
|UEFA Champions League
Villarreal vs Juventus Preview
One of the biggest matches in Villarreal’s history takes place this midweek as Unai Emery’s side play host to European royalty Juventus at the Estadio La Ceramica. Both sides will take a break from fighting for top four spots domestically to enjoy this fascinating encounter which is almost too close to call.
Villarreal enter this match after a 4-1 win in Andalusia against Granada last weekend. Arnaut Danjuma grabbed a hattrick and Sergio Asenjo was excellent in goal as the Yellow Submarine grabbed a somewhat flattering result, with Granada remaining competitive until late in the match. This result proved contrary to the rest of Villarreal’s season, as they have been able to dominate a majority of their matches with a lack of concentration in front of goal often costing Unai Emery’s side.
Villarreal reached the round of 16 by finishing runners up in a group including Manchester United, Atalanta and Swiss outfit Young Boys. Emery’s men put up convincing performances in all six group matches, with a win in Bergamo in a postponed Matchday Six encounter against Atalanta being the cherry on the cake.
This season has been only the fourth time that the Valencian club have played in the Champions League, with their three previous campaigns ending at the hands of Arsenal in both the 2005-06 semi-finals and the 2008-09 quarterfinals and in the group stage in the 2011-12 season where they finished bottom. President Fernando Roig could barely have foreseen such success in this time period, considering the club was promoted to LaLiga for the first time in 1998, only a year after his arrival.
Juventus, on the other hand, have been considered European royalty for almost half a century, after the club won both the UEFA Cup and the European cup within the space of a decade with wins in 1977 and 1985 respectively. The Old Lady once again won Europe’s biggest prize in 1996 after a penalty shootout win against Ajax and will be looking to go all the way in this season’s competition, having lost in the Final on five different occasions since their last win.
The Italian giants come into this game after an underwhelming performance against city rivals Torino on Friday night in a 1-1 draw. The club has spent most of the past decade racking up domestic titles but this season has been seen as a transitional season by the club’s board, with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and the return of Massimiliano Allegri being said to have the team aiming for only a top four spot in Serie A and a strong run in Europe.
Even in a season of change, Juventus have relied on old strategies to pick up results, conceding less than a goal per game in the Italian top flight and most of their wins coming by fine margins. Winter signing Dusan Vlahovic has failed to hit the ground running with only one goal in his first four games after striking twenty times for Fiorentina before the turn of the year.
Allegri’s side advanced to this stage after topping a group of Malmo, Zenit and last season’s champions Chelsea. The old lady kept an impressive four clean sheets out of six group matches, although a 4-0 loss at Stamford Bridge showed they can be vulnerable when being pressed at the back and not being given time on the ball in midfield.
Head to Head
- This will be the first meeting between the clubs.
Villarreal will be without star forward Gerard Moreno as they have been for a large part of this season. Frenchmen Francis Coquelin and Etienne Capoue will likely miss out and new-boy Giovanni Lo Celso faces a race against time after leaving the pitch against Granada with an ice pack around his thigh.
Paulo Dybala is a doubt for Juventus and Federico Chiesa is still out after suffering from an ACL injury picked up last month in a win over Roma, a tear which could leave the Italian out until the end of the season.
Villarreal vs Juventus Predictions
Score Prediction: Villarreal 2-1 Juventus
Even without stars such as Gerard Moreno, Dybala and Chiesa on display, this game should be a fascinating encounter and the atmosphere inside the stadium will display what a huge occasion this is for Villarreal as a club. A mix of flowing football and stout defending should be expected with both teams coming out of this fixture with all to play for in the second leg.
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