Villarreal vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as the Basque giants travel to the Ceramica.
|Date||Saturday 9th April 2022|
|Kick-Off||18:30 (local time)|
Villarreal vs Athletic Club Preview
Villarreal are back at the Estadio Ceramica, just three days on from one of their greatest European wins. With the odds stacked against them, they saw off German giants Bayern Munich by a 1-0 margin in the 1st Leg of their Quarter-Final tie and in truth it could have been even better. However Unai Emery’s side have been poor in LaLiga of late and need the points here against fellow European hopefuls Athletic.
It sums Villarreal up perfectly that their last four games have seen them beat Juventus and Bayern, but also lose to Cadiz and Levante. Neutrals may argue that’s what makes them such a fun side to watch but privately, the Villarreal hierarchy will not be impressed by those two fairly spineless league displays which have left them in real danger of missing out on European qualification.
They are now 6 points off 6th placed Real Sociedad with the UEFA Conference League looking their most likely destination for next season and even that may be dependent on Betis winning the Copa del Rey Final against Valencia. As they’ve shown in Europe, this team is better than its league position and tally of only 12 wins from 30 matches suggests and Emery cannot really afford the luxury of resting too many key players here, despite there being just three days to go until the return game in Munich.
Athletic Club would move above their opponents into 7th with victory and Marcelino will sense they do now have a real opportunity to clinch European football. Asier Villalibre struck a late goal to see off Elche last time out for the Basque giants at San Mames and this feels like perhaps the most important game of their season so far and one that may go a long way to determining whether they can compete for Europe.
Worryingly though, Athletic do come into this game having lost their last four away in all competitions. They’d only lost one road game all season prior to that so it’s a significant downturn and they’ve failed to net in each of their last three on their travels. We can expect them to look to play on the break here and hope to take advantage of an ageing Villarreal central defence which is missing Pau Torres to suspension.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 2 Athletic Wins, 4 Draws.
- Villarreal haven’t beaten Athletic since a 3-0 win at San Mames in 2018.
- Athletic are unbeaten on their last 4 trips to the Ceramica, drawing the last 3.
- They won 2-1 when the sides met in Bilbao earlier this term.
Villarreal vs Athletic Club Predictions
Score Prediction: Villarreal 1-1 Athletic Club
Villarreal aren’t exactly the easiest team to predict right now and the way they’ve been of late, don’t rule out the possibility that they lose here and then still go to Munich and see the job through. Unai Emery has to get through the importance of this game even if he does rest a few players though, and with Athletic out of sorts on their travels, a draw appears a more likely outcome than a 3rd straight league defeat for the Yellow Submarine.
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