Villarreal vs Juventus Prediction and Betting Tips


THE irrepressible Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview Tuesday nights's  Champions League clash as Villarreal meet Juventus.

Villarreal vs Juventus | Tuesday 22nd February 2022, 20:00 | BT Sport

Those in the treatment room could have as much of an impact on this clash as those on the pitch!

Villarreal already know they must do without the services of Gerard Moreno for at least the first leg in Spain after the 29-year-old recently suffered a reoccurrence of the calf injury which had previously sidelined him for over a month earlier in the campaign.

However, the positive news for Unai Emery is the return from his own seven-game injury absence of Arnaut Danjuma, a player who was recently full of praise for his Head Coach citing the ex-Arsenal boss as being 100% a key factor in him performing, working closely with him to improve his movement.

Returning from off the bench against Betis, the same game Moreno was forced off injured, the summer signing from Bournemouth made his first start since December with a quiet performance in the following game against Real Madrid but will go in to the Round of 16 tie at the Ceramica full of confidence after firing a hat-trick in a 4-1 win at Granada on Saturday to take his tally to 12 goals in his first 21 games for Villarreal, including four in six in the Champions League..

Best odds of 13/2 for Danjuma to be first goal scorer are certainly tempting, especially when taking in to account the problems Juventus face defensively, with both Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini expected to be absent – Alex Sandro was forced to deputise alongside Matthijs de Ligt in the Friday night draw with Torino, but should return to left-back with Danilo available for this one.

For my first selection however, I will be focusing on the player who will be responsible for offering protection to that makeshift back four – Manuel Locatelli.

As part of the Italian team that became European Championship winners in the Summer, the 24-year-old arrived in Turin joining on a two-year loan from Sassuolo with an obligation to buy in 2023, for a fee of around £30m.

No midfielder produced more tackles in Serie A last season than Locatelli’s 81, with only AC Milan right-back Davide Calabria topping that number and this season while Max Allegri has chosen to rotate his midfield options, only one outfield player (de Ligt) has played more minutes, with the Italian becoming a cornerstone of the side as the chosen one to sit in front of the defence.

As much as we will see Locatelli build attacks as the playmaker it is the less eye-catching “dirty side” of the game which I have looked at and in particular his willingness to break up play to screen the defence, with his 6″ 1” frame giving him a physicality edge over likely opponents Daniel Parejo and Manu Trigueros as well as having youth on his side over the pair who are both now in their 30’s.

The Old Lady faced a fairly easy group, finishing above Zenit and Malmo – but when faced with stronger opposition, and eventual section winners Chelsea, Locatelli made four tackles in both ties – something I am expecting him to be required to do here and although we can get odds of 9/5 for a repeat, I am backing the lower line of 3+ tackles at odds of 5/4.

I am expecting a cagey affair here with both sides potentially happy to sign for a draw if offered to them at kick off.

Villarreal are a clever side, playing to their strengths, often winning fouls to break up play or create set piece opportunities – but with their dynamic wide play, can explode in to life to cut through teams and hurt them – more likely suited to a counter attack style of which will possibly be an easier tactic to deploy in the second leg.

Emery’s side have only lost three times at home this season – one of which being the arguably undeserved defeat to Manchester United in the group stages followed by another to Barcelona in La Liga four days later – with the first a surprise reversal to Osasuna – despite having more attempts and conceding match deciding late goals in each of them.

However, draws at home to Juve’s Serie A rivals Atalanta on MD1 of this competition and in their last appearance in front of their own fans, a 0-0 draw with La Liga leaders Real Madrid, show the home side will be a very tough nut to crack especially for a side missing the creativity and eye for goal of the dynamic Federico Chiesa along with Paulo Dybala.

The Bianconeri do come in to this match unbeaten in 12 Serie A games (it’s 16 over 90 minutes in all competitions) conceding just seven goals along the way, three of which coming in just one of those fixtures and kept four clean sheets in the group stage of this competition.

If they can find a way to supply new €75m signing Dušan Vlahović on his UCL debut, then the striker who only Robert Lewandowski (43) scored more league goals than in 2021, could fire Juventus to a vital first leg lead – however I am instead using a Bet Builder to create a nice even money play that keeps both the draw and the home win on side.

Daniel Siebert is the man in the middle and if we add him showing a card to each side – something he has done in all five of his European appointments this term and in 10 of 13 domestically, also only failing to land in just one of these two sides combined 13 European games – to Villarreal/Draw Double Chance with less than four goals we can get 26/25 with Paddy Power.

Thus, in what should be a tight affair, we are keeping 0-0, 1-1, 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 scorelines all in our favour.

As always, I try to end by picking out something a little juicier for you and given all I have said above, I can’t help have half a unit on this one ending 0-0 at a best price of 17/2 with Bet Victor.

Best Bets

Villarreal vs Juventus – Manuel Locatelli to make 3+ tackles (5/4 Boylesports)

Villarreal vs Juventus – Villarreal Double Chance, Under 3.5 Goals and Both Teams Over 0.5 Cards (26/25 Paddy Power)

Villarreal vs Juventus – 0-0 Correct Score (15/2 BetVictor)

About Author

Having had a passion for football for as long as I can remember – I’m talking Shoot League Ladders here – one of my first “bets” is still my biggest win. After begging my mum to let me fill in her pools coupon so I could show off my knowledge, eight draws later and a cheque for £11,500 was soon in the post. As a Norwich fan it’s important to have a good grasp of what’s going on in the lower leagues and I also like exploring those less popular leagues to have a delve into any stats-based markets that are available. Right now, I’m particularly enjoying player bets. Outside of sport, I love eating and drinking - maybe a little too much - as well as listening to a varied spectrum of music, both from the comfort of my own home and at festivals.

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