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Marseille vs Villarreal: Preview & Prediction

Marseille vs Villarreal: Preview & Prediction

Marseille vs Villarreal
UEFA Europa League
Round of 16
Thursday
7th March 2024
Orange Velodrome

The most comprehensive preview, detailed analysis and reliable predictions of the UEFA Europa League fixture between Marseille and Villarreal.

Marseille vs Villarreal: Preview

Marseille form analysis

Marseille’s recent European form paints the picture of an unpredictable, open team – capable of scintillating attacking play yet prone to defensive mishaps. They started this Europa League campaign on the front foot, grinding out narrow away wins over AEK Athens and group winners Brighton courtesy of defensive solidity. However, wild end-to-end games followed – firstly drawing 3-3 at home in a thriller with Ajax as Aubameyang hit a brilliant hat-trick before losing 1-0 to Brighton through a late Joao Pedro winner. Marseille appeared back on track by earning an excellent 2-2 draw away to Shakhtar in Ukraine thanks to another Aubameyang goal.

Yet familiar defensive issues resurfaced despite fighting back to beat Shakhtar 3-1 at home last week, helped by talisman Aubameyang remaining prolific. Overall Marseille’s form shows they carry multiple attacking threats in transitions from the likes of Sanchez, Payet and recent addition Vitinha to support Aubameyang. However, for the manager to guide Marseille deep into the competition, he must tighten up their zipline high defensive line which offers huge spaces for opponents to exploit.

Villarreal form analysis

Villarreal’s recent European form suggests a pragmatic side capable of grinding out results but lacking an attacking spark at times. They started the group stages with a solid if unspectacular 1-0 home win over French outfit Rennes thanks to Sørloth’s lone goal. Villarreal needed to rely on late comeback wins both home and away against Israeli minnows Maccabi Haifa in their next two games however to stay perfect – coming from behind on each occasion courtesy of goals from Baena and Sørloth.

The signs are of a workmanlike team who excel at the basics defensively and achieve just enough attacking output rather than thrill. This steadiness served them well during a dramatic 3-2 home win over tricky Greek opponents Panathinaikos, establishing control before holding on despite some late drama. Villarreal concluded their group campaign with a hard-fought but deserved 2-3 triumph away to high-flying Rennes, built on an excellent first half as Parejo struck late on to seal the comeback victory after letting the lead slip. Overall Villarreal look organised and robust albeit unspectacular – lacking standout creative stars but making up for it with trademark defensive discipline and collective spirit.

Marseille vs Villarreal: Prediction

Marseille to win @ 1.98 odds.

Over 2.5 goals @ 1.89 odds.

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