VILLARREAL CF (7th) vs. SEVILLA FC (4th)
START TIME: 1330 EST / 1930 CET / 0330 AEST
Lopetegui: “The fight for the Champions League is very difficult. Every match will bring you to your limit.”
It’s the business end of the season, where most teams are involved in a fight for either the title, a European spot, or to avoid relegation. Today we have a chance to put an even greater distance between us and a direct rival in Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarine has set itself up nicely to make this a proper battle for a Champions League place. Being the only other side apart from Real Madrid to win all 3 games since the restart, they have taken full advantage of the slip-ups by Getafe, La Real & Valencia. They now find themselves only 5 points behind us. With lethal players in Cazorla, Moreno & Alcácer, this encounter will be just as tough as our last outing.
The entire squad has travelled to Castellón, with the addition of cantera players Lara, Pepe Mena & Genaro. Both Navas & Vázquez are at risk of suspension if they get booked.
Projected XI (4-3-3): Vaclík; Navas, Kounde, Diego Carlos, Reguilón; Fernando, Gudelj, Banega; Ocampos, De Jong, Munir.
Despite earning a draw against Barcelona, a strong case can be made that a victory was rather deserved. Many points have been dropped after failing to kill off matches. By now, we are well aware of how Sevilla can show a lesser version of themselves after getting a positive result.
Games against Villarreal are always a tight affair. Our 3-2 comeback win at the Cerámica in the 2017-18 season was the last time we beat them altogether. Inversely, we suffered defeat by a 2-1 scoreline in the reverse fixture last December. Is payback on the cards?