Villarreal must return to the European path of triumph to be in the Conference quarterfinals


Villarreal will seek this Thursday at the Estadio de la Cerámica (9:00 p.m. / Movistar Champions League) their ticket to the quarterfinals of the 2022-2023 Conference League, although for this they need to beat an Anderlecht willing to play their theoretical trump card less obligation.

The ‘Yellow Submarine’ could not impose its theoretical superiority at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels last week, where it left too much room for maneuver to the Belgian team, which finally found the prize of a tie to one goal that leaves them with all the intact options for this second chapter of the tie.

Now, the group that Quique Setién trains needs to win yes or yes if they don’t want to see themselves doomed to a penalty shootout. And this is something that has resisted him in the competition in his last games, coinciding with the arrival of the Cantabrian coach to the bench as a substitute for Unai Emery.

Under the Irundarra coach, Villarreal was relentless in this Conference League and won their first six games, but with his replacement they have lost some steam and have not been able to do so in the last three against Hapoel Beer Sheva (2-2 ), Lech Poznan (3-0) and this round of 16 first leg that has given their rival much more confidence to be able to surprise.

The ‘Yellow Submarine’ is undoubtedly one of the clear candidates to win this European title and will have to deal with that ‘obligation’, increased by playing with the support of their fans. In addition, he must manage it with a very demanding calendar in LaLiga Santander where he is in the middle of fighting for fourth place, which he has seven points behind after drawing last Sunday at home against Betis.

Villarreal has been having a hard time lately scoring easily and their goalscoring records are not standing out, an aspect to improve if they don’t want to spend a difficult night. In addition, the pass would be a good gift for the club that last Friday commemorated its hundred years of history.

In the Belgian capital, Setién lined up an eleven with many of the less common and few starting theorists (Reina, Foyth, Parejo, Trigueros, Baena and Chukwueze). Faced with another demanding outing to El Sadar on Sunday, it is most likely that he will repeat the formula and with the possible ownership of a player called to be important like Giovani Lo Celso.

For their part, Anderlecht will arrive at the Estadio de la Cerámica, where they will have the support of 900 fans, wanting to surprise, although with the certainty that they will have to sign a good game away from Brussels, something that is resisting this Campaign.

In addition, the Belgian team took heart with their victory in the Jupiler Pro League last weekend 2-0 against Círculo Brujas, which leaves them close to the area to play the ‘playoff’ to access the next edition of the Conference League.