Villarreal vs Anderlecht predictions and match preview for Thursday’s UEFA Europa Conference League fixture. Read on for analysis as the Yellow Submarine aim to progress into the last 8.
|Date||Thursday 16th March 2023|
|Competition||UEFA Europa Conference League|
Villarreal vs Anderlecht Preview
Villarreal are at the Ceramica with Anderlecht providing the opposition in the 2nd Leg of this UEFA Europa Conference League tie. It’s 1-1 from the 1st Leg in Belgium when Manu Trigueros netted for the Yellow Submarine before Anders Dreyer’s leveller for the Brussels based club.
With Quique Setien opting to rest a host of key players, it was a decent outcome and it’ll be interesting to see if we get a stronger Villarreal lineup here. It’s perhaps a slightly difficult balancing act for Setien as he needs to decide whether to prioritise a possible top four push in LaLiga against the chance to land a European trophy in this competition.
Villarreal are certainly one of the strongest sides left in it, but finishing in the top four is more important for the club’s pockets and ability to attract players this summer. They could have done with more than a point from their home game against European rivals Real Betis at the weekend and currently trail 4th placed Real Sociedad by 7 points, although Villarreal’s recent form has been better than the Basque club.
Anderlecht will know they’ll be up against it if the likes of Gerard Moreno, Pau Torres and Yeremy Pino come into the starting XI having been left on the bench in the 1st Leg in Belgium. The Belgian giants are having one of their worst ever seasons in a domestic setting and currently sit only 9th in the Pro League meaning they may well miss out on European football altogether next term.
That would be a disaster for a club of their size and standing in Belgium but they did at least win their weekend clash with Cercle Brugge by a 2-0 margin. Their Conference League campaign has been more successful though and this will be their 14th match in the competition this term after they needed two qualifying round wins just to make the group stage.
Score Prediction: Villarreal 3-1 Anderlecht (Agg: 4-2)
Much will depend here on what sort of eleven Villarreal name. At full strength, as they rarely have been in the Conference League this term, they should be too strong for this Anderlecht side and even if we see more changes, their extra depth on the bench may help them seal progress in the 2nd Half against the Belgian side who are nowhere near as strong as they have been in previous years.
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