Villarreal and Juventus meet in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday night, starting with a first leg showdown at the Estadio de la Ceramica (8pm kick-off, UK time).
The Europa League winners will be aiming to replicate their continental feat from last season, but in Juventus, Unai Emery faces a side who are certainly no strangers to the latter stages of this competition. Max Allegri meanwhile will no doubt be looking for a response from his players after his side’s 1-1 draw in the Derby della Mole against Torino over the weekend.
Villarreal team news vs Juventus: Gerard Moreno still on the sidelines
Gerard Moreno has missed the last two games after coming off injured against Real Betis in the first half earlier this month, so he is expected to sit this one out, meaning Arnaut Danjuma and Giovani Lo Celso are set to continue leading the line. Yeremi Pino, though, returns after the teenage sensation missed the final Champions League group-stage game against Atalanta through suspension.
Veteran centre-back Raul Albiol is expected to return to Emery’s starting XI after missing the weekend’s 4-1 La Liga win over Granada with a domestic ban, but Francis Coquelin and Ruben Pena remain long-term absentees. Villarreal will also be sweating on the injury status of Etienne Capoue, who faces a late fitness test ahead of this showdown.
Villarreal vs Juventus betting tips from Squawka Bet
- Juan Foyth 5+ Tackles @6/5 with Sky Bet
- Arnaut Danjuma To Have 3 Or More Shots On Target @13/2 with Paddy Power
Predicted Villarreal XI vs Juventus:
- Asenjo; Aurier, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Pino, Parejo, Iborra, Chukwueze; Lo Celso, Danjuma. (4-4-2)
Juventus team news vs Villarreal: Three casualties from Torino draw
Federico Chiesa, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are all sidelined for the Old Lady and will have no involvement in Tuesday’s journey to Spain, with the former expected to miss the rest of the season after rupturing his ACL. Daniele Rugani, Paulo Dybala and Luca Pellegrini meanwhile were all injured in the draw with Torino at the weekend, giving Allegri an extensive casualty-list headache.
Despite Juve’s form this season, with the club currently fourth in the Serie A table and nine points adrift of table-toppers Milan, Allegri believes his side “feel more like a team” since six months ago — roughly when Cristiano Ronaldo left the club — a notion that was recently put forward by Bonucci.
Allegri said ahead of the Derby della Mole: “I think that personal targets have been put aside and there is more focus on the team.
“We have been together for six or seven months now. We are knowing each other a little more, we feel more like a team.”
Back in October, Bonucci wasn’t so subtle when asked if Juve were playing like more of a team without Ronaldo, telling reporters: “Ronaldo made a choice that we respected. Last year the team played for him, now the group must rediscover that Juve spirit that was there before his arrival.”
Villarreal vs Juventus Champions League odds from Sky Bet
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Predicted Juventus XI vs Villarreal:
- Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Sandro, De Sciglio; Zakaria, Locatelli, Rabiot, McKennie; Morata, Vlahovic. (4-4-2)