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Dec 4, 2021 at 1pm UK
Ocampos (16')
Rakitic (45+3'), Mir (57')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Albiol (61'), Dia (90+2')

Preview: Sevilla vs. Villarreal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sevilla vs. Villarreal - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Sevilla and Villarreal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Following their respective defeats to the traditional giants of La Liga last week, Sevilla and Villarreal convene on Saturday afternoon at Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Both sides bounced back with Copa del Rey wins in midweek but will be keen to taste success again in the league - particularly the underperforming away side, who trail their hosts by some 12 points and eight places in the table.

Match preview

Just days after finally picking up a first Champions League win which keeps them in contention to make the last 16 next week, Sevilla returned to domestic action last weekend with a dispiriting defeat to La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Despite having marginally the better of a close-fought encounter in the capital, Los Rojiblancos were ultimately beaten by a moment of magic from the irrepressible Vinicius Junior, who slalomed through the Sevilla defence before curling the champions' winner past Yassine Bonou.

That ended an unbeaten run of six league games for Julen Lopetegui's side, who now occupy fourth spot in the standings, eight points behind Real at the summit.

Nonetheless, Sevilla have gone undefeated on home soil in the league since the start of the season, picking up a total of five wins from six at the Sanchez-Pizjuan so far. Indeed, they have racked up an impressive 17 goals in the process - at a rate of nearly three strikes per game.

While a much-changed team took care of business in their Copa del Rey tie at Cordoba on Wednesday - substitute Lucas Ocampos eventually securing a place in the draw for the next round with an extra-time goal - their challenge will be much tougher against a fellow Champions League outfit, albeit one who have struggled to replicate last season's league form.

Down in 12th place following their fourth La Liga defeat of an inconsistent campaign, Villarreal are currently stationed closer to the bottom three than the top four due to a lack of final-third firepower so far this term.

The Yellow Submarine have now won only one of their last seven matches in the league - at home to Getafe in early November - after a 3-1 loss to Barcelona last weekend.

Since steering the family-owned outfit to their first-ever European trophy last spring, little has gone right for under-fire coach Unai Emery, who has not been repaid with improved performances since affirming his loyalty to the club amid interest from Newcastle United last month.

Defeat to Atalanta next week would see Villarreal knocked out of Europe's elite club competition at the group stage, and a failure to record just a fourth league success of the season at Sevilla would ramp up the pressure before the trip to Bergamo.

Having crushed Victoria CF 8-0 in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday, at least Emery's squad players have managed to register a few goals to their name, as an away record featuring no wins and only four goals is among the worst in the Spanish top flight - so confidence when out on the road is particularly fragile.

Sevilla La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Sevilla form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Villarreal La Liga form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

After an expected reshuffle for the cup game in midweek, Sevilla should return to a more familiar starting XI on Saturday, as Diego Carlos, Jules Kounde, Lucas Ocampos and six-goal top scorer Rafa Mir come back into the side.

Both Youssef En-Nesyri and captain Jesus Navas are expected to remain sidelined with muscular injuries, though, while Erik Lamela and Suso are still doubtful.

Julen Lopetegui favours a 4-3-3 formation, so Mir could be supported by the Argentinian pairing of Ocampos and Papu Gomez up front.

Having been shorn of their chief goal threat Gerard Moreno for so long with a hamstring problem, Villarreal were buoyed by the Spain striker's reappearance on the bench on Tuesday, and he was among the scorers as a substitute.

Unai Emery may therefore hope to start the man who recently received the Zarra Trophy for last season's goalscoring feats, when he netted 30 times across all competitions.

Arnaut Danjuma would probably move to a wide role should Moreno be passed fit to start, with Etienne Capoue and Francis Coquelin among those in line to feature next to Dani Parejo in central midfield.

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Montiel, Kounde, Carlos, Acuna; Rakitic, Fernando, Jordan; Gomez, Mir, Ocampos

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Pino, Parejo, Capoue, Danjuma; Trigueros; Moreno

We say: Sevilla 2-1 Villarreal

There are several reasons why Sevilla should triumph on Saturday, not least their unbeaten home streak compared to their visitors' woeful winless start away from home.

The Andalusians have also assembled several dangerous attacking options in a deepening squad, which will leave too much work to do for the returning Gerard Moreno to bale out his misfiring Villarreal colleagues.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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