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La Liga Preview: Villarreal v Valencia
Jose Molina faces a difficult challenge in his first match as coach when his side welcome Unai Emery's team, who sit third in La Liga, to El Madrigal
By Daniel Quinton-Navarro
Gaspar, Gonzalo, Zapata, Oriol
Valero, Guzman, Cani
Bruno, Rami, Ruiz, Alba
Feghouli, Jonas, Mathieu
Villarreal's end to 2011 was one largely to forget as the Yellow Submarine crashed out of the Champions League after losing every match, while their Copa del Rey hopes came to an end against lower division outfit Mirandes, all the while flirting just one place above the drop zone.
Ultimately, Juan Carlos Garrido's tenure came to an end and he was replaced by Jose Molina, who will be presiding over his first match as a manager of a top-flight club on Sunday.
He will have to do so without Giuseppe Rossi who continues his recovery from cruciate ligament damage, whilst Jose Catala and Wakaso Mubarak are both set to miss the match against Valencia. Alongside those absentees, Molina could be without Mateo Musacchio and Javier Camunas.
Valencia face similiar injury worries, with midfielders Hedwiges Maduro and Sergio Canales out with long term problems. Meanwhile, there are doubts over the fitness of duo Vicente Guaita and Bruno, whilst David Albelda is suspended after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Los Che have had a satisfying campaign so far and sit third in the table behind Barcelona and Real Madrid with the real intention of thinning the seven-point gap between them and Jose Mourinho's men at the summit of La Liga.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Villarreal's Juan Carlos Garrido was sacked following their humiliating defeat to Segunda Division B Mirandes in the Copa del Rey, with youth coach Molina named as his replacement until the end of the season.
- The Yellow Submarine's points tally is 18 points fewer than that at the same stage last season.
- There has never been a goalless draw played out between these two sides in the 24 meetings in La Liga.
- Valencia have the best away record in La Liga outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid, winning on four occasions, drawing once and losing two on the road.
- Los Che have mustered just one win in their last eight visits to El Madrigal.
- Roberto Soldado is the highest scoring player in La Liga from a club outside of the big two.
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Top 3 Predictions
Villarreal 0-2 Valencia CF
- 26.35 %
Villarreal 1-2 Valencia CF
- 16.94 %
Villarreal 1-3 Valencia CF
- 11.53 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 5, 2012||Valencia CF 1 - Villarreal 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 8, 2012||Villarreal 2 - Valencia CF 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 10, 2011||Valencia CF 5 - Villarreal 0|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 6, 2011||Villarreal 4 - Valencia CF 2|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Dec 21, 2010||Valencia CF 0 - Villarreal 0|
|May 18, 2013||Villarreal 4 - Girona FC 1||ESP2|
|May 12, 2013||Alcorcon C.F. 1 - Villarreal 3||ESP2|
|May 5, 2013||Villarreal 2 - Elche 3||ESP2|
|Apr 27, 2013||Lugo 0 - Villarreal 0||ESP2|
|Apr 21, 2013||Villarreal 1 - Racing 0||ESP2|
|Returns:||Villarreal £130.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £34.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Valencia £95.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|13||Diego López Rodríguez||Goalkeeper|
|20||Borja Valero Iglesias||Midfielder|
|20||Jonathan De Guzmán||Midfielder|
|23||Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia||Striker|
|Borja Valero Iglesias|
Villarreal's Borja Valero will be key to any Yellow Submarine victory as his vision and ability to unlock defences can change the outcome of any match.
The free-scoring Brazilian enjoyed a terrific end to 2011 and wil be looking to continue his form into the New Year. Has an eye for goal and has the ability to be a match winner but will be tested by a Villarreal midfield that are likely to deny him space and time on the ball.
El Madrigal will host a match that last season saw these two sides competing for a spot in the Champions League, but entering 2012 they are at opposite ends of the table and Unai Emery's side should have enough quality to overcome Villarreal as a result.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed