It’s easy to forget that Villarreal only spent one season in La Liga in the whole of the 20th Century but they’ve established themselves as the main rivals to Valencia in this part of Spain over the past couple of decades, often out-performing their more illustrious neighbours. That hasn’t been the case this term but they do have a good record against Los Che and are looking to complete a league double over them here.

The common link here is Marcelino, who is currently doing a fine job in charge of Valencia, having really established his reputation as a fine coach and tactician during a three year stint at Villarreal between 2013 and 2016. As well as local pride, his Valencia side will be aiming to secure Champions League football on Saturday. They only need a point to achieve that, while if Betis drop points in Bilbao earlier in the day, they won’t even need anything from this game.

A return to Europe’s top table will be just reward for the excellent campaign they’ve put together but there is reason to doubt them in this match. Valencia have taken just 2 points from their last 4 matches, to kill off realistic hopes of finishing any higher than 4th. A slightly lifeless showing from them at home to Eibar last time out suggests they are just tailing off slightly now.

Slow finishes were a bit of a feature of Marcelino’s time at Villarreal, with his high-intensity approach frequently blamed. The Yellow Submarine though look like they might just be building up a head of steam as this season comes to its conclusion. This is their third straight home game and they’ve won the last two, beating Leganes 2-1 and Celta Vigo 4-1 with two much improved displays.

They will be hungry to secure their current 6th place rather than 7th, which would mean an early start next term in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, something that many sides are keen to avoid, particularly in this World Cup year. It might not have been a vintage season from Villarreal, who’ve had their injury problems but a 59% home league win ratio is still good and it suggests that backing a Home Win may be the smart bet here with Valencia not at their best in recent matches.

Going for Villarreal & Both Teams to Score might also be worth a punt. Both teams have scored in 59% of their home games and in a huge 71% of Valencia away games this season in La Liga.

Another reason to support both tips is the form of Villarreal striker Carlos Bacca. The Colombian has hit a real purple patch of late with 6 goals in his last 4 games. Suddenly his season tally of 15 in La Liga looks a lot more respectable for a player of his quality and backing Bacca to score anytime looks good too here.

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