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Portuguese giants to take first leg advantage

13 February 2019 | Europa League | Preview
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Portuguese giants to take first leg advantage
Oleksandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com

Sporting Lisbon host Villarreal in their Europa League last-32 first leg match on Thursday night. The Portuguese side came through the group stage with a second-place finish in Group E. Sporting ended the group three points behind Group E winners Arsenal.

Manager Marcel Keizer’s team scored 13 goals while conceding just three as it secured four wins from six games. Villarreal topped Group G by goal difference over Rapid Wien. The Spanish team posted a +7-goal difference with 12 goals scored. Although manager Javier Calleja’s team won just twice in Group G, it didn’t lose against what turned out to be a weak set of teams.

Villarreal CF have regressed this term on the domestic front. The Yellow Submarine are 19th in La Liga and four points from relegation safety. Goals have been difficult to come by as Villarreal have tallied just 23 which is second lowest in the league. On the domestic front, Calleja’s men haven’t won since November 25th going 10 games without a victory. The Europa League is the only thing keeping their season from being a complete shambles. But it could be the Europa League that is causing their poor form in Spain.

Sporting CP are fourth in the Portuguese top-flight, nine points off of first place. Sporting have had a much strong season, but inconsistency has crept in of late. They have only won three of their last eight matches in the league. The good news for Keizer is his team won at the weekend against Feirense, 3-1, to give the side momentum. Villarreal, on the other hand, drew with Real Valladolid nil-nil.

The attacks should find plenty of space for both clubs. Sporting have the more in-form attackers of the two sides and should be able to stretch Villarreal’s defence. The Yellow Submarine were good in the group stage posting four consecutive clean sheets. But with a relegation fight on the home front, Villarreal will most likely have an eye on the weekend’s match against Sevilla.

Villarreal will be happy to keep the game tight and nick an away goal ahead of the second leg in Spain. But don’t expect Sporting to sit back and allow the La Liga strugglers to dictate play. Buoyed by their home support and better form, Sporting will eke out a win at home. Villarreal do take the Europa League far more seriously than the domestic front, but they are up against a proven European opponent. Sporting will get a narrow win with both teams to score.

Predictions for Europa League

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_14  EL
SSC NapoliArsenal
18/04/2019 20:00
X
flag_14  EL
Valencia CFVillarreal CF
18/04/2019 20:00
1
flag_14  EL
Eintracht FrankfurtSL Benfica
18/04/2019 20:00
X
flag_14  EL
ChelseaSlavia Praha
18/04/2019 20:00
1

Europa League - predictions, tips, statistics
Group A
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Bayer Leverkusen 13 6 4 1 1 16 9 7
2. FC Zürich 10 6 3 1 2 7 6 1
3. AEK Larnaka 5 6 1 2 3 6 12 -6
4. Ludogorets 4 6 0 4 2 5 7 -2
Group B
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. RB Salzburg 18 6 6 0 0 17 6 11
2. Celtic FC 9 6 3 0 3 6 8 -2
3. RB Leipzig 7 6 2 1 3 9 8 1
4. Rosenborg BK 1 6 0 1 5 4 14 -10
Group C
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Zenit 11 6 3 2 1 6 5 1
2. Slavia Praha 10 6 3 1 2 4 3 1
3. Girondins Bordeaux 7 6 2 1 3 6 6 0
4. FC København 5 6 1 2 3 3 5 -2
Group D
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Dinamo Zagreb 14 6 4 2 0 11 3 8
2. Fenerbahçe SK 8 6 2 2 2 7 7 0
3. Spartak Trnava 7 6 2 1 3 4 7 -3
4. Anderlecht 3 6 0 3 3 2 7 -5
Group E
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Arsenal 16 6 5 1 0 12 2 10
2. Sporting CP 13 6 4 1 1 13 3 10
3. Vorskla 3 6 1 0 5 4 13 -9
4. Karabakh Agdam 3 6 1 0 5 2 13 -11
Group F
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Real Betis 12 6 3 3 0 7 2 5
2. Olympiakos Pireus 10 6 3 1 2 11 6 5
3. AC Milan 10 6 3 1 2 12 9 3
4. F91 Dudelange 1 6 0 1 5 3 16 -13
Group G
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Villarreal CF 10 6 2 4 0 12 5 7
2. Rapid Wien 10 6 3 1 2 6 9 -3
3. Rangers FC 6 6 1 3 2 8 8 0
4. Spartak Moscow 5 6 1 2 3 8 12 -4
Group H
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Eintracht Frankfurt 18 6 6 0 0 17 5 12
2. Lazio 9 6 3 0 3 9 11 -2
3. Apollon Limassol 7 6 2 1 3 10 10 0
4. Marseille 1 6 0 1 5 6 16 -10
Group I
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Racing Genk 11 6 3 2 1 14 8 6
2. Malmö FF 9 6 2 3 1 7 6 1
3. Besiktas JK 7 6 2 1 3 9 11 -2
4. Sarpsborg 08 5 6 1 2 3 8 13 -5
Group J
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Sevilla FC 12 6 4 0 2 18 6 12
2. FK Krasnodar 12 6 4 0 2 8 8 0
3. Standard Liège 10 6 3 1 2 7 9 -2
4. Akhisarspor 1 6 0 1 5 4 14 -10
Group K
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Dynamo Kiev 11 6 3 2 1 10 7 3
2. Stade Rennais 9 6 3 0 3 7 8 -1
3. FC Astana 8 6 2 2 2 7 7 0
4. FK Jablonec 5 6 1 2 3 6 8 -2
Group L
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Chelsea 16 6 5 1 0 12 3 9
2. BATE Borisov 9 6 3 0 3 9 9 0
3. Vidi FC 7 6 2 1 3 5 7 -2
4. PAOK Salonica 3 6 1 0 5 5 12 -7
16th Finals
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
8th Finals
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
Final
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
Semi-finals
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
Quarter-finals
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-

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