James MortonRANGERS vs VILLARREAL, Thursday November 29th, 20:00, Ibrox Stadium. With Group G in the Europa League wide open, both Rangers and Villarreal will be looking to take control of the group, with the Spanish side through to the knockout rounds if they can win in Scotland.
With Group G in the Europa League wide open, both Rangers and Villarreal will be looking to take control of the group, with the Spanish side through to the knockout rounds if they can win in Scotland.
Villarreal were finally able to halt their slide with a win this weekend over Real Betis. It brought an end to a run of five games without a win in all competitions, but they still find themselves a precarious position in the league table, sitting three points above the relegation zone.
Rangers also had a positive weekend, with a 3-0 win over Livingston taking them to second in the Scottish Premier League.
Since their disappointment against Spartak Moscow – when they lead three times but still lost 4-3 – they have won twice, scoring 10 goals in the process. While Villarreal lead the group only two points separate them from bottom place Rapid Wien.
With the group tight and the last three meetings between Rangers and Villarreal tight (three draws) expect no different when they meet on Thursday, likely in another 2-2 draw.
Villarreal’s last seven away games have seen 22 goals scored, which averages out to over three total goals a game. Rangers meanwhile have scored 13 goals in their last three matches, including a 7-1 win
With 16 goals this season, Alfredo Morelos is only two off his whole tally for last season. 11 of those goals have come in his last 11 games.
The striker was benched for their last match, but still came off the bench to score. Having picked up a suspension for the next league match, there is little stopping manager Steven Gerrard playing him the full 90 minutes against Villarreal.
Head to Head
On the evidence of these sides’ previous meetings, their next will be a tight affair. Three matches, three draws.
Rangers were able to recover from conceding to Carlos Bacca after just 43 seconds to draw 2-2 in at El Madrigal when they played each other earlier in the competition.
Before September, they last met back in 2006 in the Round of 16 in the Champions League. It was 2-2 in Glasgow and 1-1 back in Spain. With Villareal going through on away goals.
In 11 games against Spanish opposition, Rangers have only won once.
Rangers are the top goal scorers in the Scottish Premiership, with 35 goals in 13 matches.
Villarreal hold the record not only for the most games played in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (66), but also the most goals scored (114).