Leganes v Villarreal – Estadio Municipal de Butarque at 15:00 GMT +1
After three rounds of La Liga action, Leganes propped up the Spanish top-flight table as we moved into the international break. Los Pepineros are the only side yet to pick up a point following consecutive defeats to Osasuna, Atletico Madrid and Real Betis. But that could change this weekend when Villarreal arrive.
After winning promotion to La Liga for the very first time in their history, Leganes have registered successive 17th-placed finishes before hitting the heady heights of 13th last term. Though the football is often rather safe, rarely exciting and quite regularly uninspiring, the Madrid minnows are rarely overawed.
Under former Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino, Leganes have built very solid foundations. Only Barcelona, Valencia, Getafe and Atletico Madrid conceded fewer league goals last season and the club moved quickly to make key centre-back Kenneth Omeruo a permanent signing from Chelsea in the summer.
Experienced Venezuelan international Roberto Rosales arrived to fill the right-back void, and whilst defensive midfielder Mikel Vesga failed to return for a second loan spell from Athletic Bilbao, the capture of Roque Mesa on a temporary deal from Sevilla was one of the surprising signings of the off-season.
Reason to believe in Leganes
Los Pepineros’ opening efforts have caused some supporters concern over the club’s ability to beat the drop but a deeper look at performances suggest Saturday afternoon’s hosts remain on the right track. Leganes have actually returned an Expected Goals (xG) supremacy of 3.06 to 2.91 in their three losses.
Meanwhile, only four La Liga clubs boast a better Shot Ratio figure, and just five sides have generated a stronger Shots On-Target Ratio return. Pellegrino’s posse have fired in 22 shots from inside the penalty area already – six teams have attempted more – with all the data pointing towards potential improvement.
Leganes have also passed the eye test in these early stages. The hosts now look to enhance an already impressive record at their Butarque base with Los Pepineros falling to only six defeats in 21 outings on home soil under Pellegrino’s watch. Such positivity makes Leganes appealing at generous prices this weekend.
Leganes can be backed with a +0 start at 1.81 in the Asian Handicap market. Working in the same form as the Draw No Bet market, we’ll see our stake returned should the match end all-square with a home loss the only way we’ll lose out on Saturday afternoon.
Villarreal can be opposed
Villarreal have aspirations of reaching a European qualification berth this term after a nightmare 2018/19. No one amongst the top 14 conceded more goals than the Yellow Submarine last season, and early signs suggest the visitors are yet to fix the issue having shipped at least twice in all three encounters thus far.
Question marks remain over Javier Calleja’s suitability to lead the side and with Villarreal pocketing only five triumphs on their travels since the start of last season, I’m happy to oppose the guests against the more streetwise Leganes outfit at Butarque.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Leganes +0.00 at 1.810
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.