Starting from Thursday, matches of the fifth round of the Europa League and the Conference League are scheduled, and this time we have analyzed the encounter that will be played at “La Cerámica” where Villareal and Panathinaikos will measure their strengths. The start of the match between these two teams is scheduled for 9 PM.
Villareal: “The Yellow Submarine” holds everything in its own hands!
Villareal had a quite good season, although their primary goal was not achieved, which has been for years the qualification for the Champions League. Indeed, the popular “Yellow Submarine” ultimately finished the championship in fifth place on the table, trailing by as many as seven points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad, so it’s clear that qualifying for Europe’s top club competition was never really within reach. Looking back at the last season, it’s worth remembering that Unai Emery left the club mid-season to join Aston Villa, where he quickly revitalized the Birmingham club.
Emery is the strategist who first brought Villareal their first European trophy in history (the Europa League) and then, in the following season, led them to the semi-finals of the Champions League, which is undoubtedly a huge success. He was replaced by Quique Setién, but he too was dismissed after a disastrous start to this season, followed by Pačeta, who was also sacked after a series of poor results, meaning Villareal has already changed two coaches, which is certainly an ignominious fact. Recently, Marcelino García Toral has taken over the helm of the “Yellow Submarine,” and as things stand now, it seems that this was finally a good move by the club’s top brass. In the last round, the team from La Cerámica played a great match at their stadium, defeating the formidable Osasuna team more easily than expected, with the match ending 3:1. The hero of that match was the legendary José Luis Morales, who scored all three goals, signaling better days for his team, which currently finds itself in a disastrous twelfth place in the table, trailing by as many as ten points from the teams currently positioned for European competition qualification at the end of the championship.
Before all this, the “Yellow Submarine” eliminated Zamora in the Spanish Copa del Rey, after extra time, and interestingly, Morales scored both goals for the visitors, being in great form recently. As for the Europa League, the Spanish representative currently holds everything in its own hands, as they are in second place in the table with a two-point lead over third-placed Panathinaikos, but also with a game in hand compared to the Greek team. So, all things considered, a lot of things would have to align for Villareal not to be seen in the knockout phase of Europe’s second-tier club competition, which is undoubtedly the primary goal for this first part of the season. In the last round of the Europa League, Marcelino’s men celebrated a victory in their visit to Maccabi Haifa, with the match ending 1:2.
Panathinaikos: The Greens must go all in or nothing!
Panathinaikos is among the most trophy-laden Greek clubs, having won the Greek championship an impressive twenty times, with the last victory dating back to 2010. Interestingly, few people may know that the Greens played in a Champions League final, where the Greek representative was unfortunately defeated by Ajax in 1971. It’s also noteworthy that Panathinaikos reached the semi-finals of Europe’s most prestigious club competition twice, in 1986 and again nine years later. The last significant achievement on the European stage for the club was in 2002 when they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, only to be eliminated by Barcelona despite winning the first match at home 1:0.
After a long time, Panathinaikos finally played as expected last season, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the championship title, as AEK finished with a five-point lead in the end. When it was least needed, the Greens played several very poor matches, as evidenced by the fact that Ivan Jovanović’s team didn’t win any of their last four league games, so nothing more than second place could be expected. However, all this earned the Greek giant a spot in the Champions League qualifiers, where Panathinaikos surprisingly eliminated the French team Marseille, securing direct qualification to the Europa League, which was the primary goal in the qualifiers.
Unfortunately, in the play-offs, the team was eliminated by Braga, but Panathinaikos fans weren’t too disheartened, as qualifying for the Europa League after several dry years was a significant achievement. Regarding this year’s Greek championship, Ivan Jovanović’s team is currently in first place, one point ahead of second-placed Olympiacos. In the last round, PAO suffered only their second defeat in the championship, losing away to Aris with a score of 2:0. Perhaps the impression is that we expected more from Panathinaikos in this year’s edition of the Europa League, as the Greek representative is currently in third place with four points, having achieved only one win, one draw, and two losses. This indicates that Jovanović’s men will have to go all in or nothing in their visit to Villarreal. In the last round of Europe’s second-tier club competition, Panathinaikos was expectedly defeated away at Rennes, with the match ending 3:1.
Our Betting Suggestions
Additionally, it is expected that the home team will score at least two goals in this duel against the Greek representative, so we advise betting on t1 over 1.5 goals with odds of 1.77.
Finally, as we already mentioned in the analysis, Panathinaikos must go all in or nothing in this duel if they want to stay in the race for qualification to the next phase. Therefore, the general impression is that we can expect an open match with potentially many goals, which is why we advise opting for Over 2.5 Goals, a bet that the Mozzartbet bookmaker offers with odds of 1.75.