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Jan 20, 2021 at 8.30pm UK
Pena (29'), Gomez (65' pen.)
Trigueros (80'), Coquelin (90+5')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Soldado (21'), Kenedy (75')
Milla (15'), Herrera (35'), Machis (90'), Duarte (90+5')
Brice Eteki (90+1')

Preview: Villarreal vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Villarreal vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's La Liga clash between Villarreal and Granada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Villarreal will be aiming to extend their winning run across all competitions to five matches when they host an inconsistent Granada outfit in La Liga on Wednesday evening.

The Yellow Submarine scraped a 1-0 win over Tenerife in their Copa del Rey clash at the weekend, and Granada also advanced to the next round with a 2-1 win at Malaga.

Match preview

Unai Emery just could not hack it at Arsenal, but the Spaniard now has Villarreal fans dreaming of a return to the Champions League amid a remarkable spell of form.

The hosts have only suffered one defeat in their last 24 matches across all competitions and are four for four in 2021, with Copa del Rey triumphs over Zamora and Tenerife complementing league victories against Levante and Celta Vigo so far.

A much-changed Villarreal side struggled to assert their dominance over Tenerife in Sunday's Copa del Rey game, though, and it took a last-gasp winner from substitute Fer Nino to propel Emery's men to victory and maintain their perfect start to the year.

Glory in Spain's premier cup competition is certainly not out of Villarreal's reach given the way that they have been performing, but for now, Emery's side will simply be looking to cement their position in the top four and keep the pressure on third-placed Barcelona - who are only two points better off.

Another victory for the Yellow Submarine here would mark the first time that Emery has steered his Villarreal team to three straight wins in the top flight, and runaway leaders Atletico Madrid are the only other team yet to taste defeat on home soil this season.

Meanwhile, Granada are certainly in the conversation for a second consecutive season in Europe, but their wholly inconsistent form is not helping matters in the slightest.

The visitors have won three and lost three of their last six La Liga outings, but like Villarreal, they have already recorded two Copa del Rey triumphs this year over Cultural Leonesa and Malaga - both by two goals to one.

Diego Martinez's crop have a mammoth Europa League knockout tie against Napoli to contend with next month, but until then, Granada will simply be aiming to stake their claim for a top-six finish as they lie three points adrift of Sevilla - who have a game in hand - and Real Sociedad, who have played a game more.

However, it is Granada's solid form on their own patch which has propelled them into European contention, as they have only won two of their eight La Liga matches on the road this season - scoring a league-low five goals in that run.

Furthermore, Villarreal have not lost to their midweek opponents since the 2013-14 campaign, although the spoils were shared in an eight-goal thriller at the Estadio de la Ceramica last season.

Villarreal La Liga form: DWDLWW
Villarreal form (all competitions): DLWWWW

Granada La Liga form: WLWLLW
Granada form (all competitions): WLWLWW

Team News

Villarreal have little concerns on the injury front at the minute, with the trio of Mario Gaspar, Vicente Iborra and Alberto Moreno all working their way back to fitness.

Emery gave a number of fringe players an opportunity to prove themselves against Tenerife but will revert to his strongest XI here, starting with Sergio Asenjo, Pau Torres, Ruben Pena and Raul Albiol all returning to the rearguard.

Only Lionel Messi (11) has found the back of the net more times than Gerard Moreno (10) in La Liga this term, and the 28-year-old will return to Emery's frontline alongside Moi Gomez on the opposite flank.

Granada also made significant alterations for their Copa del Rey win and are set to welcome the likes of Domingos Duarte, Rui Silva, Carlos Neva, Angel Montoro and Darwin Machis back to the starting XI.

Jorge Molina's goal against Malaga will not be enough to see him keep his spot in attack over Luis Suarez, while Roberto Soldado is pushing for inclusion after coming off the bench in Granada's last two matches.

On a more sombre note, midfield lynchpin Maxime Gonalons was forced off with a hamstring problem in last week's win over Osasuna and is likely to be out until next month.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Pena, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Capoue, Parejo, Trigueros; Moreno, Nino, Gomez

Granada possible starting lineup:
Silva; Foulquier, Duarte, Sanchez, Neva; Eteki, Montoro; Kenedy, Herrera, Machis; Suarez

We say: Villarreal 3-1 Granada

Villarreal's home record and Granada's away record both speak for themselves, and the two teams will be out to prove a point after only scraping by against lower-league opposition at the weekend. This should be a fascinating battle between two clubs with a common goal of European qualification, but we are struggling to look past Villarreal on their own turf and expect Emery's men to make it five out of five in 2021 this week.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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