Villarreal welcome Valencia to the Estadio de la Ceramica for the weekend’s La Liga clash. Both teams have ambitions to qualify for the Champions League and they have made good starts to their respective league campaigns.
Villarreal are currently fourth on the table with eight points on the board, two behind league leaders Real Madrid, who have played a game less. The visitors, on the other hand, are eighth in the standings, but just one point behind Unai Emery’s side.
The game will see Francis Coquelin and Dani Parejo come up against their former club Valencia. The duo were the regular midfield pairing for Los Che, but swapped teams over the summer.
The clubs have met each other on 50 competitive matches and Valencia have won 20 occasions when compared to Villarreal, who have registered 18 victories. Over the past six meetings, Valencia have had the upper hand with four wins, but they suffered a 2-0 loss to the Yellow Submarines in June this year.
Players to watch out for:
Dani Parejo – Villarreal: Parejo made 383 appearances for Los Che during a nine-year spell where he registered 63 goals and 63 assists across all competitions. He was also the captain of the side for six seasons and was pivotal to their qualification to the Champions League. As such, his departure came as a surprise during the summer. The 31-year-old rescinded his contract to join Villarreal on a free transfer and he will be determined to make an impact against his former employers. Parejo has not contributed a goal or assist for his new team from five appearances and Saturday could be the perfect time to announce himself.
Maxi Gomez – Valencia: With the departure of Roberto Moreno to Leeds United this summer, Gomez can now be considered as the leader of Valencia’s attack. The 24-year-old contributed 10 goals from 43 appearances in his debut season last term and he has started the current campaign in a much better fashion with three goals from just five outings. The Uruguayan has a strong physical and aerial presence in and around the box and he has the knack of scoring headed goals. He has played against Villarreal on six occasions and has been on the winning side three times. He scored or assisted in each of those victories.
Alberto Moreno, Ramiro Guerra and Ruben Pena are on the sidelines for the hosts with injuries. Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo has seen just 54 minutes of action since joining them and he could make a surprise start against Los Che.
Valencia could be without Carlos Soler, Eliaquim Mangala and Denis Cheryshev with short-term injuries. Gabriel should be in contention to make the squad after overcoming a hamstring injury while Jasper Cillessen has also recovered from a muscular problem.
Villarreal (4-4-2): Sergio Asenjo; Pervis Estupinan, Pau Torres, Raul Albiol, Mario Gaspar; Moi Gomez, Dani Parejo, Vicente Iborra, Takefusa Kubo; Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcacer
Valencia (4-2-3-1): Jasper Cillessen; Jose Gaya, Mouctar Diakhaby, Gabriel Paulista, Daniel Wass; Geoffrey Kondogbia, Uros Racic; Goncalo Guedes, Lee Kang-In, Yunus Musah; Maxi Gomez
Villarreal come into the game with the better run of form and they can be fancied to register a second successive win over Los Che. Parejo could be influential for the hosts with the transition of play from the centre of the park.
Villarreal 2-1 Valencia
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and Worldfootball.net