Two of the lower lights of the Spanish La Liga will battle it out on Jan. 23 when 19th-place Villarreal hosts 18th-place Sporting Gijon at Estadio El Madrigal. Villarreal has 16 points after 18 games from three wins, seven draws and eight losses while Sporting Gijon has 18 points from five wins, three draws and 10 losses. The only team worse than these two is Real Zarazoga with 12 points on the season.
Villarreal has three losses and two draws in their last five matches while Sporting has two wins and three losses. Villarreal’s been a bit better at home with two wins, two draws and a loss in their last five matches while Sporting has two wins, a draw and two losses in their last five away matches. Villarreal manager Jose Molina is hoping is club can play some decent football at home, like they did against Valencia in a 2-2 draw their last home match, to take all three points and move ahead of Sporting in the table.
The game against Valencia two weeks ago was Molina’s first in charge and they started like a house on fire by taking a 2-0 lead over their local rivals after just 18 minutes into the game. However, true to form they blew it and let in the game-tying goal in the 87th minute. Still, Molina felt his side at least showed some positive aspects during that match and hopes they can build on them against Sporting.
Villarreal didn’t look too good in their next match though and were beaten 3-0 by away by Atletico Madrid last week. Molina realizes his players have to fight for the full 90 minutes if they’re going to be successful and pick up any points. He said they have to climb up the standings and get out of the league’s relegation zone and the only way they can do that is by beating Sporting. But he also said winning just one game against another one of the league’s lower teams isn’t going to be much good if they’re beaten by everybody else.
Villarreal should have Javier Camunas back in the line-up as well as Marco Ruben, but it looks like their best Giuseppe Rossi will miss the game due to injury.
Sporting earned three huge points last weekend with a 2-1 victory at home over Malaga and that should give them some confidence heading into this game. Ruud van Nistelrooy tied the game for Malaga in the 88th minute last week, but Sporting didn’t quit and Oscar Trejo scored the winner in injury time to grab all three points.
Villarreal vs Sporting Gijon Predictions
Manager Manuel Preciado and defender Alberto Botia both said the team needs to build off of that win and keep the momentum going. Botia added that even both clubs are down in the relegation zone it should be a tough, hard-fought contest. Botia’s right, this is a huge game, but there’s a good chance neither team will take all of the points and it could end in a draw.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a Villarreal victory at 4/5 and a Sporting Gijon win at 7/2 with a draw at 5/2.