Astana vs Villarreal
Competition: UEFA Europa League
Date: 23 November 2017
Kick-off: 17:00 CET
Two matches into the group stage, Astana looked doomed, not only because they had earned just one point (and not a really deserved one, as Slavia Prague had been by far the better team in their game in Kazakhstan), but mostly because they looked super unconvincing on the pitch. Two matches later, they are perfectly situated in the table to finish in the top-2, having picked up six points from their two matches against Maccabi Tel Aviv, scoring a total of five goals, and conceding none(!). “Perfectly situated to qualify”, but definitely not guaranteed a spot in the last-32 of the competition. They are two points above third-placed Slavia, and they will be keeping their fingers crossed that Maccabi will make the Czech side drop points a bit later in the evening. Astana want to avoid finishing level on points with Slavia, because they have conceded at home (1-1), meaning that a simple 0-0 in Prague in two weeks won’t be enough for them. It will be enough, if Slavia fail to beat Maccabi in Tel Aviv, or if Astana beat Villarreal (which feels rather unlikely). Kazakhstan’s championship is over, the last games were played earlier in November, Astana beat Akzhayik 2-0 on the last day, and that win made them champions once again, leaving Kairat a single point behind.
The way things stand in the group table right now, Villarreal need to shoot their own foot to miss out on a ticket to the last 32 of the competition. They have the chance to finish things off in this game, by earning at least a draw. Even if they lose for the first time in the group, they still have the last game at home, in two weeks, against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the weakest side of the bunch, meaning that… really, crazy things need to happen for the Spanish side not to finish in the top-2. Last weekend they drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao. They are 6th in LaLiga, just three points behind Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, third and fourth respectively. Keep in mind that Villarreal haven’t lost since September 24 (4-0 at Getafe!), excluding a Copa del Rey game at Ponferradina (they have the return leg at home though, later this month).
Previous five matches:
Astana vs Akzhayik 2-0
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Astana 0-1
Astana vs Kairat 0-2
Astana vs Okzhetpes 4-0
Ordabasy vs Astana 2-1
Athletic Bilbao vs Villarreal 1-1
Villarreal vs Malaga 2-0
Slavia Prague vs Villarreal 0-2
Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal 1-1
Ponferradina vs Villarreal 1-0
Astana’s next game is at Slavia Prague, on December 7, their last group match. The season in Kazakhstan is already over. Villarreal will be hosting Sevilla on Sunday (Spain LaLiga).
Astana vs Villarreal: Head to head Stats
Astana have hosted Villarreal once before, something over three years ago, in the Europa League playoffs. They lost that game 3-0.
Astana vs Villarreal: Prediction
Astana have a much bigger motive, and they come from back-to-back wins over Maccabi Tel Aviv. On the other hand, they haven’t played an official match since November 5. All things considered, I’m backing them to get at least a draw, partly because a draw will be a very… convenient result for Villarreal as well.
Astana vs Villarreal: Betting Tips
Astana’s double chance is at 1.55 betting odds. Draw alone pays 3.10, and feels very probable to me.
More UEFA Europa League betting tips and match previews:
- Lugano vs Hapoel Beer Sheva
- Viktoria Plzen vs FCSB
- Ostersunds vs Zorya
- Athletic Bilbao vs Hertha Berlin
- BATE Borisov vs Red Star Belgrade
- FC Koln vs Arsenal
- Konyaspor vs Marseille
- Salzburg vs Vitoria Guimaraes
- Nice vs Zulte-Waregem
- Lazio vs Vitesse
- Zenit vs Vardar
- Rosenborg vs Real Sociedad
- Lokomotiv Moscow vs FC Copenhagen
- Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Slavia Prague
- Skenderbeu vs Dynamo Kiev
- Partizan Belgrade vs Young Boys
- AC Milan vs Austria Vienna
- AEK Athens vs Rijeka
- Everton vs Atalanta
- Lyon vs Apollon Limassol
- Braga vs Hoffenheim
- Ludogorets vs Istanbul Basaksehir
- Sheriff vs Zlin