Villarreal v Rayo Vallecano – Estadio El Madrigal at 15:00 live on Sky Sports 3

At the start of October, Villarreal were sitting pretty at the top of the La Liga table having taken 16 points from a possible 18 in their first six encounters of 2015/16. But since, a serious case of vertigo has hit the Yellow Submarine, who head into the weekend clinging on to a top-six spot by a solitary point.

A return of just W1-D2-L4 wasn’t what head coach Marcelinho had ordered but the Yellows have a decent chance of getting back to winning ways on Sunday afternoon. Having managed merely two goals in their last four games, Roberto Soldado and Jaume Costa return from suspension as Villarreal prepare to welcome Rayo Vallecano.

It’s a fixture the Yellow Submarine tend to saviour. They’ve come out on top in their last four when hosting the capital club, scoring at least four goals on each occasion. And Marcelinho’s men tend to do their best work in front of their adoring home fans, dispatching 10 of the last 12 bottom-half dwellers at El Madrigal.

In fact, the Yellows have triumphed in all bar two of their home La Liga matches this term (W4-D1-L1) but have kept just one clean sheet in the process. Looking further back, the Yellow Submarine have run out winners in 20 of their last 28 contests at home across all competitions, keeping just six shutouts in their most recent 18.

Taking purely La Liga games into account, Villarreal have W14-D2-L4 as hosts but only kept their sheets clean in three of the most recent 13 when welcoming La Liga opposition. With Mario Gaspar sidelined, Antonio Rukavina may be rushed back to start at right-back, weakening their prospects of enhancing that below-par record.

Rayo are winless on the road in four (W0-D1-L3), have lost each of their last eight visits to top-six sides (trailing at the interval in each) and will be without their talisman Roberto Trashorras on Sunday. But they have managed to score in 18 of their 25 away days in the Spanish top-flight since 2014/15 and can do so again this weekend.

Former Cardiff striker Javi Guerra has already scored eight goals in La Liga this season and is most definitely capable of making his mark at El Madrigal. Rayo have been involved in 13/25 (52%) of successful Both Teams To Score bets since the start of last season and should play their part in another goal-heavy game.

Whilst Paco’s Jemez’s troops have mastered a sumptuous possession-based game, they still remain hugely vulnerable at the back. No La Liga side has conceded more goals from inside the penalty area and ultimately their defensive woes are likely to catch-up on them again.

If, like me, you believe Villarreal will manage to return to winning ways despite Rayo scoring, the Over 2.5 Goals bet stands out at 1.85. Although four of Rayo’s six trips to top-six teams last season yielded Over 3.5 Goals, Villarreal have beaten the three-goal line just six times in 25 La Liga matches at HQ, making the 1.85 selection the most obvious and likely winner at a value price.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 1.85

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @MarkOHaire.

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