Villarreal will face Zenit Petersburg at Estadio de la Ceramica, in Villarreal, in the Europa League 1/8-Finals second leg. Villarreal against Zenit Petersburg is always the match with big interest, especially during this season. Review our thoughts on this match here below.
Villarreal this season is looking like divided into different sides. One side wants to be relegated to Segunda División, the second one to be winners of UEFA Europa League. In LaLiga Villarreal is taking risks to be relegated to lower division in Spain. However, in the Europa League, they are fighting strongly. Very likely that they will play in Quarter-final of this tournament after a confident win against Zenit in the first leg. Lats round in the Spanish highest league was very lucky for them as they scored two goals in additional time at the end of the match and took very necessary 3 points. Now they stand at 17th position with 1 point difference with the relegation zone and with the least amount of victories this season.
All main squad players ready for the match. However, Bruno Soriano, Javi Fuego, and Daniele Bonera will miss the match due to injuries. But the team will not feel their absence since already the whole season has been played without them.
Villarreal is strong at creating long shot opportunities and creating scoring chances. However, they are weak at defending against skillful players, defending set pieces and finishing scoring chances. Very likely, that at home pitch they will take a lot of shots and attack down the wings.
Zenit Petersburg had only several games before came back from season break and that is always very hard to start playing on the highest level. Although, they started the second half of the season month ago they already went further in Europa League by passing Fenerbahce after a great comeback. They lost the first game in Turkey with 1:0 result, and then won 3:1 at Gazprom Arena. In Russian Premier League, they are unbeaten after the break and won already 2 games in a row very confidently. Now they stand at 1st place and have all the chances to save this place till the end of the season and take the ticket to Champions League group stage. By the way, during the winter transfer window, one of the leaders Leonardo Paredes left the club and joined Paris SG for 40m €.
Several main squad players will miss the match. Claudio Marchisio and Aleksandr Erokhin will miss the match due to injuries. Moreover, Aleksandr Kokorin is in jail after a fight in a public place.
Zenit is playing great this season at attacking set pieces and attacking down the wings. However, the team is weak at avoiding individual errors, defending against skillful players and stopping opponents for creating chances. Very likely they will try to take more shots and play aggressively, as they need to back up after 3:1 loss.
Zenit Petersburg played Villarreal in Petersburg at the first leg of 1/8 Final in Champions League. First game for Russians was very unsuccessful as they lost it 3:1. They almost lost their chances to go further in this important tournament. Spanish guests controlled the game by 58% ball possession and made 13 goal attempts. As a result, scored 3 goals in away match.
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