Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Estadio de la Ceramica (Villareal)
Villarreal sharpened up for their 22nd La Liga (LL) campaign by taking European Champions Chelsea to penalties in the UEFA Super Cup during the week. Head coach Unai Emery is expecting a positive domestic start from the surprise Europa League winners, not least because he has lost just one season opener in the last seven years with any club (W3, D3).
The hosts began each of the previous two LL seasons with lengthy unbeaten streaks at home (W5, D6 in 2020/21 and W3, D3 in 2019/20), but have notably not taken three points from their first home game of a new LL campaign from three attempts (D2, L1). As far as last season was concerned, Villarreal won just one of their nine home fixtures (D4, L4) against the teams to finish tenth or higher in 2020/21.
Granada ended ninth last season after failing to win any of their final five games (D1, L4). Hopes of snapping that winless streak to start the new season seem remote as three of their last four away league triumphs were earned against clubs to finish 15th or lower. That leaves Granada vulnerable of replicating the poor start they made to their travelling campaign last LL campaign, when they failed to win any of their first four trips (D1, L3).
They also haven’t tasted victory from their first away trip of a new season in any division from their last five attempts (D3, L2), with a thrilling 4-4 visit to Villarreal in the first week of 2019/20 one of ten consecutive H2H meetings at any venue to have been either drawn or lost (D5, L5).
Players to watch: Six of Boulaye Dia’s ten goalscoring appearances last season for Reims in Ligue 1 saw him register his team’s opening goal. New Granada recruit Carlos Bacca scored for his former club in three of the last six LL games in which he featured for at least 60 minutes.
- Villarreal’s form in last 5 matches: DDLLD.
- Granada CF’s form in last 5 matches: WWWLD
PREDICTION: Home/Draw Over 1.5