Villarreal and Levante start the year at La Cerámica with a match that they both hope will serve to consolidate their respective projects and reaffirm the objectives for this season.
While the locals need to win at home again after three consecutive draws and thus remain in European positions, Levante intends to ratify at home the change in trend that they have already demonstrated with their three consecutive victories at their stadium.
Unai Emery's team closed 2020 with a 2-0 defeat in Seville, ending a streak of eighteen games in a row without losing and now they need to reconnect with victory.
At Villarreal, the long-term casualties of Alberto Moreno and Vicente Iborra are joined by Mario Gaspar, Paco Alcácer and Francis Coquelin, all of them injured with muscle problems
In addition, the Argentine defender Juan Foyth will be a doubt until the last moment, who for a couple of weeks has been playing with ankle discomfort. His absence, if confirmed, would pose an added problem for Emery, who has used Foyth as a defensive midfielder following the absences of Iborra and Coquelin.
To this is added that the club still cannot count on the recent signing Étienne Capoue, a man hired to play in that position, but who still cannot be registered.
The data of the Villarreal – Levante
The possible eleven would be formed by Sergio Asenjo as goalkeeper, with a defense made up of Rubén Peña, Raúl Albiol, Pau Torres and Alfonso Pedraza.
In the center of the field, with Foyth in the team, there will also be Dani Parejo and Manu Trigueros, who will be accompanied in attack by Gerard Moreno and Moi Gómez on the wings, to play with the Colombian Carlos Bacca as a reference point.
Levante returns to the field where this season it played two games for the remodeling works of its stadium and does so in its best moment of the course after having added seven points over the last nine in play and with the desire to start 2021 as such and how last year ended.
The team, however, arrives very impaired in defense, as Sergio Postigo has just joined the group after a muscle injury, the Portuguese Rubén Vezo is confined by COVID-19 and the Galician Rober Pier serves a penalty game after being sent off against Real Betis.
In addition, the Levante coach, Paco López, maintains the losses of José Campaña, Nikola Vukcevic and Enis Bardhi due to injury.
The Valencian coach admitted in the press conference prior to the game that they value the possibility of having Postigo, although it would arrive very fair, and if he is not ready, his position in the axis of the rear would be occupied by Coke Andújar, who would be the companion of the Costa Rican Óscar Duarte.
After the good performances against Real Betis, Paco López would maintain his usual 1-4-4-2, although Gonzalo Melero could return to the starting eleven with Malsa in the midfield axis, which would move Radoja to the bench.
The two goals scored against Betis leave Morales fixed in the starting eleven and probably also in one of the extremes, with De Frutos in the other, and Dani Gómez and Roger would continue together in attack.
Villarreal: Asenjo, Rubén Peña. Albiol, Pau Torres, Pedraza, Foyth, Parejo, Trigueros, Gerard Moreno, Bacca and Moi Gómez
Raise: Aitor, Miramón, Coke, Duarte, Clerc, Radoja or Melero, De Frutos, Morales, Dani Gómez and Roger.
Referee: González Fuertes (Asturian committee)
Stadium: La Cerámica