Villarreal v Dinamo Zagreb: Moreno to make his mark
After picking up two odds-against winners from the first leg, Kevin Hatchard's back with two more picks as Villarreal take on Dinamo Zagreb...
Emery fully focused on UEL dream
Fans of Sevilla and Arsenal will recognise the pattern: when Unai Emery fully focuses on his beloved Europa League, the domestic form can suffer. You can't argue with the results - Emery won the tournament three times in a row with Sevilla, and got Arsenal to the final in Baku. However, Villarreal are in danger of not qualifying for the competition next season if they don't improve their form in La Liga.
The Yellow Submarine had a burst of three straight La Liga wins recently, but the weekend's 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna was a disaster, and VCF have now won just three of their last 12 La Liga games. Their form at La Ceramica is particularly poor, with just two wins collected from the last ten league matches.
And yet, Emery's side continues to excel on the continental stage. In the knockout stage of this tournament, they have beaten Salzburg and Dynamo Kyiv home and away, and they produced a diligent and controlled performance in Zagreb last week, winning 1-0 with a penalty from Gerard Moreno. The Spanish international is having the season of his life, and incredibly he has either scored or set up his side's last 23 goals in all competitions.
Moreno was a half-time sub against Osasuna, but will start here, as Emery selects his strongest available side. Left-back Pervis Estupinan and midfielder Vicente Iborra are both still sidelined.
Dinamo's big chance may have gone
While Dinamo Zagreb found Tottenham to be obliging and listless opponents in the Croatian capital, they didn't have the same experience against Villarreal last week. Players like Mislav Orsic found it difficult to make an impression against a well-drilled and technically proficient side.
Dinamo put up an Expected Goals For figure of just 0.59 on the night, and managed just four attempts on target. Now they must produce on the road, and they have found that tough. At Tottenham, they lost 2-0 and could have lost by a greater margin, and in the Champions League qualifiers they scraped a penalty shootout win at CFR Cluj before crashing out at Ferencvaros. If they are to take solace from anything, it will be their UEL wins at Wolfsberger, Krasnodar and Feyenoord, but this feels like a big step up.
Striker Bruno Petkovic is still injured, and his absence was keenly felt last week. There are no fresh injury concerns for the Croatian giants.
Villarreal can qualify in style
Villarreal every won every game in the knockout phase, and I'll back them to do so again here. We can back them -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at 1.86, which means we get a winner if they win by two goals or more, and we have our stake returned if they win by just one goal.
Moreno to strike again
We successfully backed Gerard Moreno to score in the first leg, and I'm happy to do that again at 2.2 on the Sportsbook. His form has been stellar, and he looked really sharp in the second half against Osasuna, forcing an own goal with a searching cross.
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