Villarreal v Sporting Gijon – Estadio de la Cerámica at 19:45 live at Sky Sports
Villarreal kept their quest for Champions League qualification alive with just four games to play and although the Yellow Submarine’s hopes of reaching Europe’s elite competition next season appear slim, don’t expect Fran Escriba’s troops to give up the ghost yet.
The hosts moved into fifth place following their 1-0 triumph at Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night but it’s true too that the capital club were missing a number of top players and Villarreal survived a major onslaught at the Vicente Calderon.
Villarreal’s rock-solid home record
Nevertheless, the Yellow Submarine have now taken maximum points from four of their last five La Liga matches and their home record makes extending that sequence appear the most likely scenario when struggling Sporting Gijon pitch up on Friday evening.
Villarreal have returned a wonderful W14-D3-L1 record when welcoming bottom-six clubs to their Estadio de la Ceramica home over the past three seasons and although both Mateo Musacchio and Jaume Costa are suspended here, I’m expecting a rested home side to take top honours.
Escriba rotated his squad on Tuesday night and so the likes of Roberto Soldado should be restored to the starting XI for a side that’s scored at least twice in 12 of their 17 home games thus far, including each of their past five.
Sporting entrenched in relegation trouble
Sporting Gijon required two late goals to pinch a point against Osasuna last time out but the under-pressure guests remain deep in the relegation mire and are now without a win in six games.
The Asturians survived the drop last term but appear highly likely to drop back down to Spain’s second-tier this time around having picked up a sole success on their travels all season and collecting just one point from a possible 24 when travelling to top-six teams since 2015/16 (W0-D1-L7).
Moi Gomez returns from a ban for the visitors and should slot straight into the heart of the midfield but Los Guajes have won just three matches in 31 and draws against Espanyol and Osasuna in their last two outings isn’t enough to reel in Leganes in 17th.
The betting angles
Nevertheless, I’d back Gijon to grab a goal here seeing as Villarreal’s usually sturdy defence has kept a sole clean sheet in four and Sporting have seen both sides score in each of their last four, as well as four of their past five in games as guests.
Seeing as we’ve already outlined Villarreal as potential winners, I’ll invest in the generous 2.00 odds on the Yellow Submarine overcoming a -1.25 Asian Handicap here and also have an interest in the 1.75 available for Over 2.5 Goals to be scored in Friday night’s La Liga showpiece.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Villarreal -1.25 Asian Handicap (2.00) Over 2.5 Goals (1.75)
Prices correct at time of writing.