Villarreal v Real Betis – Estadio El Madrigal at 19.30 live on Sky Sports 5
Hats off to Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine have equalled their best ever points tally at the midway stage of a La Liga season, accumulating a hugely impressive 39 to sit comfortably in the Champions League qualification places.
Marcelinho’s men have W12-D3-L4 and beaten Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia this term, defying all pre-season expectations that the Yellows would struggle to recapture the form in their previous two campaigns, finishing sixth in each.
But Villarreal have been outstandingly consistent despite the summer departures of Luciano Vietto, Denis Cheryshev, Giovani dos Santos, Ikechukwu Uche and Gerard Moreno. Instead, a flourishing partnership between Cedric Bakambu and Roberto Soldado plus solid defensive framework has given the club the foundations they need to continue building in the right direction.
The Yellow Submarine are now eight points clear of fifth and their six-match winning streak is their best since 2007. Should they make it seven on Saturday, Villarreal would climb above Real Madrid into third, if only for 24 hours. Nevertheless, heady heights.
However, Marcelinho admitted after last weekend’s 2-0 home success against Sporting Gijon that his troops would need to greatly improve their performance levels if this run is to continue. For large swathes of that encounter, Villarreal failed to spark but it’s hard to ignore their claims here.
The Yellows have W8-D1-L1 at their El Madrigal home, winning each of their last three in front of their home fans ‘to nil’. Since the start of last season the hosts have W20-D2-L7 when welcoming domestic foes, keeping 13 clean sheets. Exactly half of those 20 victories were recorded by a margin of two goals or more.
In contrast, Real Betis are in crisis-mode. After a 1-0 win over Levante in late November, the Verdiblancos were sitting pretty in the top-half having W5-D3-L5 since promotion. But things have quickly turned very sour.
Just two points from a possible 18, a humiliating 6-0 aggregate Copa del Rey exit to bitter rivals Sevilla and failure to score in seven successive games has seen Pepe Mel axed. Betis are the league’s lowest goalscorers and the ultras have vandalised the training ground, showing their displeasure at the direction the team is heading in.
Villarreal should continue their winning streak here but I’ll count on Marcelinho’s men producing the goods with a -1 Asian Handicap start at 1.82. The hosts have already dispatched Sporting, Athletic and Espanyol by the two-goal margin whilst both Betis’ ventures to top-half teams have ended in comfortable away defeats.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Villarreal -1 at 1.82
Цена правильная на момент написания.
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