Valencia vs Villarreal / La Liga – This season, however, the neighbouring derby will be played in different circumstances, but not because of Villarreal, which is somehow in their standard edition and they are holding themselves in European positions, but because Valencia is returning in great style and they are currently third on the table with ten points more than their rivals. However, Valencia is in bad shape after a long, brilliant period, and they suffered the only two defeats in the previous three rounds. Villarreal has already had a lot of oscillations, but they also played in European Cup in which they passed the knockout stage. Last season, both teams celebrated away in their mutual duels. Begins: 23.12.2017. – 16:15 CET
Recently, it is no longer the invincible Valencia, but could somehow be expected that they would experience a downfall. They still have not lost the match on their field, and they have only played two draws, with Atletico and Barcelona, the leading duo on the table. But it has become a problem for them when playing away in the previous period and they have lost two times in a row against objectively weaker rivals.
It did not help much against Getafe that they had with a numerical advantage on the field to avoid defeat 1-0, while they against Eibar in the last round received a goal for the final 2-1 three minutes before the end. Between these two matches, they celebrated at home over Celta, also with 2-1, so all in all, it is clear that they are in a small crisis. Their first shooter Zaza was not in the team against Eibar because of yellow cards, as well as midfielder Soler. Now Zaza is back, as well as Guedes and center-back Garay, while Gaya is questionable on the left back.
Probable lineups Valencia: Neto – Montoya, G.Paulista, Garay, Gaya(Leto) – Kondogbia, Parejo, Pereira, Guedes – Rodrigo, Zaza
Unlike their host, Villareal plays on three fronts, and it seems that Europa league costs them the most, with the injuries that follow them from the beginning of the season. Coach Calleja is missing players for rotation that are necessary when playing a large number of matches, but when all is over, they can be satisfied. They passed the knockout stage of Europa League, and they are in European positions before this round. They were quite downgraded by the series of four rounds without defeat, in which they lost three consecutive times, two of which were home derbies between Sevilla and Barcelona.
They also lost to Leganes and then in the last round, they finally celebrated in this unpleasant hosting against Celta. It was a worthy victory because they played without their first goalkeeper Bakambu, who won the fifth yellow card against Barcelona. Raba was not in the team because of suspension, as well as the injured Semed, so Fornals, Castillejo and returnee Bacca jumped instead. Now it Bakambu certainly returns instead of R. Soriana and maybe that is the only change.
Probable lineups Villarreal: Asenjo – Mario, A.Gonzalez, V.Ruiz, J.Costa – Trigueros, Rodri, Fornals, Castillejo – Bacca, Bakambu
Valencia vs Villarreal PICK
Valencia is no longer so good and safe, but they are also not bad. Villarreal is not shinning, because they know how to play surprisingly good, which we expect from this spectacle, because they will be particularly motivated. Valencia will surely be offensively oriented on their field, so we predict a match with a lot of goals.
Pick: Over 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.65 at William Hill (down to 1.57 can be played)