Monday, May 23
Collect News Data
May 15, 2022 at 6.30pm UK at Estadio El Madrigal
1 - 2
Real Sociedad
Coquelin (43')
Foyth (68'), Albiol (77'), Lo Celso (90+6'), Jackson (90+11')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Isak (56'), Zubimendi (73')
Zaldua (2'), Isak (82')

Preview: Villarreal vs. Real Sociedad - prediction, team news, lineups

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

The battle for sixth place in the La Liga table will heat up on Sunday, as Villarreal welcome Real Sociedad to the Estadio de la Ceramica.

With two games left to play, the visitors currently hold sixth spot with a three-point lead over their opponents, meaning a win would guarantee them a place in European competition next season.

Match preview

After rising up through the pack and putting themselves in the conversation for a top-six finish, Villarreal seemingly paid the price for a gruelling Champions League run, as the two legs of their unsuccessful semi-final tie with Liverpool came either side of a disappointing 2-1 defeat to strugglers Alaves in La Liga.

Following their exit from the continental competition, the Yellow Submarine took on Sevilla, and they looked set to see out a 1-0 win thanks to Giovani Lo Celso's late goal, only for the visitors to force a share of the spoils deep into injury time through Jules Kounde.

That saw Unai Emery's men lose ground in the race for continental qualification, but they were then able to make a crucial return to winning ways last time out.

In that game, they thrashed Rayo Vallecano 5-1 on home turf as Alfonso Pedraza hit a brace alongside goals from Juan Foyth, Paco Alcacer and Pau Torres.

That victory saw them remain three points behind Sunday's opponents, and, with a far superior goal difference, Villarreal would climb into the top six with a win at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad will make the trip looking to stretch that gap and confirm their top-six finish.

After being in the race for Champions League football for large parts of the season, Imanol Alguacil's side experienced a dip in form at a crucial point, going four games without a victory from mid-April to the beginning of May.

Having only picked up two points in that span, La Real looked at risk of dropping out of the top six altogether, but they were able to bounce back to winning ways last time out.

Alguacil's men hosted strugglers Cadiz, and they came out with a dominant 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Alexander Sorloth, Adnan Januzaj and Portu.

With that result keeping Villarreal at bay for the meantime, Real Sociedad will know they still need a result on Sunday to keep themselves in the European places.

Villarreal La Liga form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Real Sociedad La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Villarreal were without key attacking duo Gerard Moreno and Arnaut Danjuma for the Sevilla match, and they could both miss out on Saturday, with Paco Alcacer again set to start up front in their absence.

Following their dominant display, Unai Emery has little reason to make too many changes to his starting XI, with Samu Chukwueze and Tottenham Hotspur loanee Giovani Lo Celso again set to support the lone striker.

Further back, Etienne Capoue and Dani Parejo should again play key roles in midfield, while Manu Trigueros was given the final spot in the engine room last time out.

Real Sociedad have injury issues of their own to deal with, as Ander Barrenetxea, Mikel Oyarzabal, Nacho Monreal and Carlos Fernandez remain sidelined.

They will, however, welcome defender Robin Le Normand and attacker Alexander Isak back to contention after the duo served suspensions last time out.

The latter will have to battle hard for his place, after Alexander Sorloth, Adnan Januzaj and Portu all added to their goal tallies in the win over Cadiz.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo; Lo Celso, Alcacer, Chukwueze

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Rico; Zubimendi, Merino, Silva; Sorloth, Isak, Januzaj

We say: Villarreal 1-1 Real Sociedad

With so much on the line on Sunday, we predict a tight encounter and see a share of the spoils as the most likely outcome.

While the hosts desperately need a win in their pursuit of European qualification, the losses of Danjuma and Moreno could hit them hard against a stronger defence, and we do not see them putting La Real to the sword with a makeshift front line.

For additional data used by our team to analyse our suggesed result please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 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 2.5:data

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6Real Sociedad381711104037362
8Athletic Bilbao381413114336755
11Celta Vigo381210164343046
12Rayo Vallecano38119183950-1142
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