Villarreal vs. Juventus Predictions: A bundle of cards inbound at El Madrigal
Villarreal vs. Juventus Odds
The Champions League continues this week as Villarreal welcome Juventus to El Madrigal for their first ever competitive meeting.
The hosts will likely be counting themselves lucky to be welcoming the Serie A giants, as they were originally pencilled in to face English champions Manchester City before a redraw was ordered.
Now, with Unai Emery at the helm, the Yellow Submarine will certainly fancy their chances of putting together a cup run.
A serial winner in Europe, the Spaniard has won the Europa League on four separate occasions with two different clubs - as well as taking Arsenal to the final - though he’s never progressed beyond the ‘Last 16’ in the continent’s premier competition.
His Villarreal side are faring well domestically too, with no side in Spain in better form over the last ten games.
It’s that form that has seen them rocket up the table, from 13th and 13 points off the ‘top four’ to 6th and three points away from a Champions League berth.
Villarreal vs. Juventus Tips
On the other hand, Juventus are having an uncharacteristically tough time of it this year.
The Andrea Pirlo project failed before it had even really started last season which led to the re-appointment of Massimiliano Allegri in the offseason.
It isn’t going as planned this term either though, with the Bianconeri wallowing in 4th in the table and consistently dropping points.
They’ve already suffered dismal defeats at the hands of sides like Verona and Empoli, and have struggled to turn draws into wins of late too.
Four of their last five games (after 90 minutes) in all competitions have finished all square, so Juventini will be hoping the January addition of prolific goalscorer Dusan Vlahovic can change things for Allegri.
The maestro hasn’t been able to work his magic as he’d liked in Serie A after taking over a faltering squad, but has done so in the Champions League so far.
With five wins from six, the Old Lady topped a group containing the reigning European champions at a canter - keeping four clean sheets in the process.
With gladiators Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini at the heart of defence it’s no surprise that any success they have is built on that and both will be a huge miss this evening.
In the absence of that gargantuan duo, and with Matthias De Ligt left as the only fit centre-back, it looks likely that marauding full-back Danilo will have to deputise in the middle of defence.
Up against Villarreal’s tricky forwards, including former Bournemouth star Arnaut Danjuma, the Brazilian may find himself in a spot of bother.
He has a tendency to lunge into challenges and already has five bookings in just 13 Serie A starts so far this season.
Meanwhile, Villarreal’s opponents have seen a centre-back booked in four of their last five - including a red card for Mallorca’s Franco Russo and cards for each of Elche’s centre-backs - and in the game that neither were carded, they committed a combined three fouls.
Taking charge of this one is German official Daniel Siebert, who has shown 55 yellows in his last 12 European club games (4.6 per game), including one for Danilo in Juventus’ group game against Ferencvaros last season.
The Brazilian also deputised at centre-back in that fixture, and has been booked in three of his four Champions League starts at the position.
I’m also taking a small double on this duo of midfielders to pick up bookings in what I expect to be a fierce midfield battle.
One of Juventus’ January additions, Zakaria had picked up five yellows in 16 starts for Borussia Monchengladbach before his transfer - as well as two in his four international starts for Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Belgian bruiser Etienne Capoue has earned himself six bookings in 18 La Liga starts this term.
It’s taken his tally for Villarreal to 11 in 33 league starts over the last couple of seasons, and he’s managed to total five in 14 in Europe.
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