Bottom side Espanyol will hope for a change in fortunes when they visit Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday.
In stark contrast to last season, Espanyol are embroiled in a relegation battle this time. They finished in seventh place last campaign. As a result, they qualified for the Europa League, in which they have impressed. Wolves from the Premier League are their opponents in the Round of 32 of the competition. However, their showing in the La Liga has been dreadful, to say the least. Espanyol are rooted to the bottom of the table and are among the favorites to get relegated.
Courtesy of winning only two games all season, they have just 11 points. Espanyol are four points adrift of safety with half the season gone. Celta in 17th place are the side they will hope to catch in the coming weeks. Their last two games should provide hope to Espanyol. They faced city rivals Barcelona in a derby in their first game of the new year. Espanyol salvaged a 2-2 draw to upset the league leaders. David Lopez scored early on for them, and Wu Lei snatched a late equalizer.
In their last game, Espanyol faced SS Reyes in the Copa del Rey. Jonathan Calleri and Raul de Tomas scored to hand Espanyol a 2-0 victory. It was a comfortable win for them, and manager Abelardo will hope that it will improve their league form. Espanyol’s last league win came against Levante in October. They will hope to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
Villarreal are in 9th place, and they have an outside chance of getting into the European places. Valencia in the sixth spot are three points above them as it stands. Aided by a strong attack, Villarreal have made great leaps this season. They have scored 33 league goals, and only the top two have scored more in the La Liga.
Gerard Moreno is their top scorer, and he has scored eight times in the league. The likes of Karl Toko Ekambi and Santi Cazorla are right behind him with six goals. Cazorla has revived his career at Villarreal, and he is the catalyst behind their attack. He leads the side with four assists so far. Villarreal’s defence is not the strongest, and they have conceded 26 times in 19 league games. An improvement on that end could propel them up the standings.
Villarreal faced Real Sociedad in their last league game and claimed an impressive 2-1 win. Five of the last eight matches between Villarreal and Espanyol have ended in draws. Villarreal claimed a narrow 1-0 win the last time these two sides met, which was in October.
Villarreal vs Espanyol Betting Tips
A similar result should be in store now, but with more goals. Both sides should score in this one, and the total goals should be over 2.5 in the game. However, Villarreal have enough quality in attack to score more and get the three points on their day.