Back a stalemate in Spain

Back a stalemate in Spain

Rare knockout run for Yellow Submarine

It’s just the third time that Villarreal have taken part in the Champions League knockouts and the first since 2009, which is a bit of a surprise given they’re a well-known side in Europe but it’s mostly come from Europa League success.

Unai Emery’s side booked their place with a thrilling 3-2 win against Atalanta in the group stages as they finished second behind Manchester United – and now tackle another European giant in Juventus.

It’s a first ever meeting with Juve for Villarreal, but the Yellow Submarine arrive in decent form having won three of their last four – drawing the other game against Real Madrid – and conceding just once during that run.

Being without star forward Gerard Moreno is a blow for Emery, but they have veteran defender Raul Albiol and teenage forward Yeremi Pino back from suspension and Arnaut Danjuma bang in form after his hat-trick in a thumping 4-1 win over Granada at the weekend.

Plenty of injury problems for Juve

Massimiliano Allegri has guided his side through four of his five last-16 ties in charge of Juventus, and the Old Lady embark on an eighth straight appearance at this stage of the competition after beating champions Chelsea to top spot in the group.

Juve have fallen at this stage the last two years though, with upset defeats against Lyon and Porto, and they’ll be wary of another shock exit against a dangerous Villarreal side in decent form.

They did not look at their best in their 1-1 draw with city rivals Torino in a game that saw their lengthy injury list extended as Paulo Dybala and Luca Pellegrini both picked up injuries in the derby.

Dybala could make the bench in Spain, but with Federico Chiesa and defensive stalwarts Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini also missing there are plenty of problems for Allegri to get his head around.

Pairing January signing Dusan Vlahovic with Alvaro Morata up front though means they’ll still have plenty of menace going forward.

Spanish side surprise favourites

Juve would’ve been big favourites when the draw was made, but their injury problems sees them posted as 3.259/4 outsiders with hosts Villarreal 2.56/4 favourites to win the match on the night.

The draw is also 3.259/4 and worth of consideration – as Juve haven’t lost in their last 16 games (in 90 minutes) so even with a depleted side should still be tough to beat.

With the players Allegri is missing, Juve will be more exposed at the back so Villarreal stand a better chance of winning by getting at them in this first leg – as the Italians could be back at full strength for the return leg in Turin.

Villarreal have been big scorers at home recently, scoring 17 in their last five before a 0-0 draw with Real Madrid last time out, and with Juve’s obvious attacking threats them both teams to score seems reasonable 1.9620/21.

Danjuma the man for Villarreal

Arnaut Danjuma is the man stepping up with Moreno out, having score four goals and adding an assist in the Champions League this season. This included two goals in that crucial win over Atalanta.

Danjuma is 3.613/5 to score anytime and an obvious threat to the shuffled Juventus defence with his attacking intent coming from wide.

Samuel Chukwueze should also cause problems coming from the opposite wing and is 4.3100/30 to find the net.

Dusan Vlahovic is the 3.02/1 market leader to score but strike partner Alvaro Morata looks the better option at 3.39/4 given his experience of playing in Spain.

Morata has scored in two of his last four games against Villarreal and he might be needed to score again to ensure his side go into the second leg still level.