James MortonVillarreal vs Spartak Moscow, Thursday December 13th, 17:55, Estadio de la Ceramica. Either Villarreal or Spartak Moscow can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League but must pick up a positive result when they meet in the final matchday of the group at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Either Villarreal or Spartak Moscow can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League but must pick up a positive result when they meet in the final matchday of the group at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Group G of the Europa League has been too tight to call throughout and all four teams can still qualify going into the final matchday.
Villarreal are in the boxseat, and will ensure their place in the round of 32 if they avoid defeat to Spartak, but will be eliminated if they lose on Thursday.
The group-topping continental football of Javi Calleja’s men is in stark contrast to their domestic performances, with the Yellow Submarine teetering above the La Liga drop zone.
Spartak Moscow lost 2-1 to Rapid Vienna on their home patch last time out, meaning they have to win in Spain in order to emerge from the group.
The 2010/11 Europa League quarter-finalists warmed up for this match with a clinical away performance at Anzhi in the Russian Premier League on Saturday, winning 3-0.
Villarreal’s home form has picked up slightly of late and that could be vital in order to see them through with a 2-1 scoreline on Thursday.
Forward Ze Luis is key to Spartak Moscow’s prospects on Thursday, with the Cape Verde international in excellent form. He’s scored 11 times in all competitions this season, which has included three vital goals in the Europa League. He also netted twice at the weekend in the victory over Anzhi and will be a popular first goalscorer choice on betting sites.
Villarreal may have drawn their last two European matches 0-0 but they were both away from the Estadio de la Ceramica. At home they have been more fluent – most notably in hammering Rapid Vienna 5-0 back in October. Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow must come out and attack in Spain as they know they need to win to qualify for the next round.
Head to Head
The only previous competitive meeting between these teams was the reverse fixture in this group, which was a very entertaining affair. Spartak Moscow trailed 2-1 before scoring twice in the last ten minutes to seemingly steal all three points. However, Santi Cazorla’s very late penalty kick ensured Villarreal returned home with a point in a 3-3 draw.
Spartak Moscow have only won one of their last 15 away matches in European football.
Only three teams have had more shots on goal than Villarreal (77) in this season’s Europa League – Chelsea, Salzburg and Krasnodar.
Villarreal’s Carlos Bacca and Spartak Moscow’s Luiz Adriano were teammates at Milan in the 2015/16 campaign.
Spartak Moscow beat Villarreal’s La Liga rivals Athletic Club 2-1 in Spain in the Europa League last season.