Thursday, May 23, 2024

Prediction: Villarreal vs Rayo Vallecano

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 26 Apr 2024

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Verdict: Villarreal win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

Facing what is another must-win showdown on Sunday evening, Villarreal will welcome Rayo Vallecano to the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Villarreal

Starting with the hosts, last seen snatching a dramatic late 2-1 victory away at Almeria, Villarreal will be more than aware that they face another must-win showdown here. With a real uphill battle on their hands in the race to secure another lucrative European finish this season, Marcelino Toral’s side do appear to have turned a recent corner since returning from March’s international break. Despite watching their Europa League adventure come to an end last month as they suffered a 5-3 aggregate defeat against French outfit Marseille, Villarreal have lost just one of their previous six appearances across all competitions. Heading into March’s fortnight break with a 1-0 victory at home against Valencia, the former Athletic Bilbao boss should also be excited by their largely rugged performances on home soil. In fact, Sunday’s hosts have lost just one of their last eight showdowns at the Estadio de la Ceramica – a run that stems back to December 9th.

Team News

Dealing with a long-term knee injury and not set to feature over the remainder of the season, Villarreal will once again be without attacking starlet Yeremy Pino. Likewise, suffering from a muscle injury that was picked up prior to March’s international break, former Manchester United defender Eric Bailly remains on the sidelines and will not feature here.

Serving a one-match suspension against Almeria last week, veteran defender Raul Albiol could make a full return on Sunday evening. Notching 11 goals for club and country since opening the New Year, one-time Crystal Palace misfit Alexander Sorloth will spearhead Villarreal’s charge this weekend.

Rayo Vallecano

As for the visitors, although Rayo Vallecano might be unbeaten in their previous four La Liga appearances, the Little Thunderbolts have continued to struggle with their consistency this season. Almost sat in top-flight limbo heading into the final few weeks, Inigo Perez’s men have recorded just a pair of wins from any of their previous 14 consecutive appearances across all competitions – a run that stems back to January 6th. Heading into March’s international break with a 1-0 loss at the hands of Alaves, the Madrid-based outfit have continued to gain a reputation for their glaring issues on the road. Including a routine 3-0 drumming against Girona on February 26th, Sunday’s guests have failed to win any of their previous seven showdowns outside of the capital. Likewise, it should also be noted, Vallecano have failed to record a single goal on their travels in almost 300 minutes of La Liga action.

Team News

Both still dealing with respective injury issues, Vallecano will be without the duo of Diego Mendez and former Elche midfielder Like Perez will not feature on Sunday evening. Likewise, veteran defender Aridane Hernandez is not expected to feature this weekend after sustaining a recent muscle injury.

Bagging a first La Liga goal of the season and impressing since breaking back into Perez’s defence, 26-year-old Pep Chavarria will keep his spot at left-back. Forced to settle for a spot on the bench following his returning from a one-match suspension, one-time Real Madrid starlet Raul de Tomas could be handed a full recall here.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Villarreal and Rayo Vallecano met for their reverse La Liga showdown on September 24th, Sunday’s opponents played out a 1-1 stalemate.
    • The Yellow Submarine have lost just one of their previous six appearances across all competitions.
    • Likewise, Villarreal have suffered just a single defeat at the Estadio de la Ceramica since back on December 9th.
    • Rayo Vallecano have failed to win any of their previous seven consecutive appearances on the road.
    • The Little Thunderbolts have failed to find the net in almost 300 minuets of action outside of the capital.

    Conclusion

    Snatching a last-gasp 2-1 victory away at Almeria last time out, Villarreal will be more than aware that they face another must-win showdown here. Desperate to make up some ground in the European chase, Sunday’s hosts will be looking to cash in on a Vallecano squad that have continued to show some extended issues outside of the capital. With the Yellow Submarine suffering just a single defeat at the Estadio de la Ceramica since the start of December we are backing a home win this weekend.

    Verdict: Villarreal win

    Best Odds: 4/5

    Bookmaker: Olympusbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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