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UEFA Champions League

  • November 2, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Camp El Madrigal, Villarreal
  • Referee: Pedro Proença
  • • Attendance: 19358

Champions League Preview: Villarreal v Manchester City

Champions League Preview: Villarreal v Manchester City

Getty Images

Roberto Mancini's side will be favourites at El Madrigal as the home team approach the game on the back of a poor run of form and with fresh injury concerns



Gaspar, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Catala
Camunas, Bruno, Marchena, De Guzman
Borja Valero
Marco Ruben

Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy
Yaya Toure, Barry
Johnson, Aguero, Silva
Villarreal have a plethora of injuries leading into the game against City. Marcos Senna, Marco Ruben, Cani and Cristian Zapata all picked up knocks against Rayo Vallecano at the weekend. Zapata has been ruled out for five weeks with strained ligaments, but with a shortage of options in attack, coach Juan Carlos Garrido will likely risk Marco Ruben if the forward can prove his fitness.

Star striker Giuseppe Rossi has dealt the club a hammer blow after injuring his cruciate knee ligament, and will subsequently be out of action for up to six months. Brazilian forward Nilmar is also still sidelined. World Cup winner Carlos Marchena will however return from a back injury, and will likely feature in midfield. Full-back Angel, who has been out of action since January with cruciate ligament damage, is back to full fitness but this fixture may arrive too early for him.

Manchester City, meanwhile, don't have any new injury worries ahead of their trip to El Madrigal. Mario Balotelli will feature in the Champions League for the first time this season after serving a three-game ban, while Adam Johnson's recent goalscoring form means he may be given the nod on the right flank.

  • This is only the second time Villarreal and Manchester City have faced each other, the first was in the Champions League encounter a fortnight ago.
  • Villarreal have lost all three group games in the Champions League so far.
  • Manchester City have only competed in Europe’s premier club competition once before, in the 1968-69 season, going out in the first round to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
  • Villarreal have featured in the Champions League group stage twice, reaching the semi-finals in 2005-06 and the quarter-finals in 2007-08, both times losing to Arsenal.
  • Villarreal have scored just 13 goals to Manchester City’s 48 in all competitions so far this season.
  • Despite City's relative lack of experience in Europe, two players who are likely to feature - Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure - have both won the competition previously. 
  • Villarreal have won only one of their last eight games in all competitions.
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Players to watch

Borja Valero

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Borja Valero has been in impressive form recently and has stepped up his game especially since the injuries in his team have piled up. The midfielder has accrued a reputation for his intelligence, vision and creativity. If the Spanish maestro can perform in a similar vein as he has done in his last few games, he will cause City problems.

M. Richards

Position: Defender

Games: 0

  • 0
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Micah Richards has been in stunning form of late and was Manchester City’s best player against Wolves on the weekend. Not only can he defend, but uses his strength and pace to drive forward into the opposition's half. With Villarreal’s weakened line-up the Spanish team will find it hard to keep him quiet.

Editor's Prediction

Villarreal's problems have been exacerbated with fresh injuries on the back of their poor run of form. They will therefore struggle against a City side who are in blistering form. However, Mancini's men have shown weaknesses in Europe and the Yellow Submarine will want to put their rough patch to bed - especially in front of their home fans. City, though, remain favourites, and will get the win they need to boost their chances of progression.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Manchester City


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Villarreal CF VIL
Villarreal CF Villarreal
Manchester City FC MCI
Manchester City FC Manchester City

Top 3 Predictions

Villarreal CF VIL
0 - 2
Manchester City FC MCI
Villarreal CF VIL
1 - 3
Manchester City FC MCI
Villarreal CF VIL
1 - 2
Manchester City FC MCI