Sevilla and Villarreal will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they face off on Saturday at 14:00 GMT.
Sevilla failed to leapfrog Real Madrid to the top of the table as Los Blancos emerged 2-1 winners at the Santiago Bernabeu. Villarreal fell to a 3-1 defeat at home to Xavi’s Barcelona.
Can Sevilla Gain the Consistency They Need to Compete at the Top of the Table?
Sevilla’s start to the season has been impressive. Not only are they in the top four of La Liga, they are only 5 points off the pace, and that is after losing to league leaders Real Madrid.
However, their loss to the leaders was a reminder that things are hard at the top of La Liga, and that they will need another gear to compete.
As Real Sociedad have fallen off the top, having played a match more than the rest of the top four, it looks as if the top of the table will have a familiar look, minus Barcelona that is.
But Julen Lopetegui’s side need to find another level of consistency to keep within touching distance to the top.
Can Villarreal Get Back to Winning Ways?
Unai Emery’s side are marooned down in 12th on the La Liga table, and they have won only once in their last five.
The last time out, Villarreal lost to Xavi’s Barcelona, meaning they are closer to the bottom of the table than top.
The match against Villarreal represents a major opportunity for Emery’s side to not only get back to winning ways but make a statement with a win.
Lopetegui’s men have won two, drawn two, and lost one, in their last five rounds of fixtures in La Liga.
In the last six matches, Sevilla have collected 11 points from the available 18 in La Liga; this is the fourth best run in the league behind Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Real Betis.
Lopetegui’s side have the best home form in La Liga having collected 16 points from the last six rounds of fixtures. In this run, they have only dropped two points in the 2-2 draw against Alaves.
In the last six rounds of La Liga fixtures, Unai Emery’s side have only won once, 1-0 against Getafe. In this run, they have lost three and daw twice.
Away from home, Villarreal have picked up four points from the last six fixtures with four draws and two losses.
Lopetegui has the full squad from which to pick the team to face Villarreal on Saturday.
However, he has three players on the verge of getting suspended courtesy of yellow cards. Central midfielder Ivan Rakitic, defensive midfielder Fernando Reges, and right-winger Erik Lamela all have 4 yellow cards, which means another one could lead to their suspension.
Unai Emery also has a full complement from which to choose the team to play Sevilla.
Only one player faces the risk of suspension; Etienne Capoue already has 4 yellow cards in 12 appearances for Villarreal this season. The 33-year-old Frenchman will face suspension if he is cautioned in the game against Sevilla.
Possible Starting Lineups
Bono; M. Acuna, D. Carlos, J. Kounde, G. Montiel; I. Rakitic, Fernando, J. Jordan; Papu Gomez, R. Mir, L. Ocampos
- Rulli; J. Foyth, R. Albiol, P. Torres, Alfonso; Y. Pino, E. Capoue, D. Parejo, M. Gomez; M. Trigueros, A. Groeneveld
Players to Watch
Mir has been influential for Sevilla this season with his 6 goals in 18 appearances.
He opened the scoring in the match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Although Los Blancos hit back through Karim Benzema and Vinicius, his importance to Sevilla was pronounced.
He will be the leading danger man for Sevilla as they bid to maintain consistency in La Liga and to challenge the top teams higher up the table.
Villarreal will need their top players to be at their best against Sevilla to stand a chance of getting anything in this fixture.
Unai Emery’s side will need Trigueros, with his 4 goals in 17 appearances this season, to inspire the attacking side of the team to trouble Sevilla.
Expect Sevilla to start with pace and energy looking to strike first. Villarreal will typically play in a disciplined manner with a compact midfield and defence. They will look to spring fast attacks to catch out Sevilla when they over-commit.
Sevilla are in brilliant form, and they will have too much for Unai Emery’s side. Lopetegui’s side will take all three points.
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