Soccer Picks: Villarreal vs. FC Zürich Odds, Predictions & Picks

Kevin Stott

Thursday, November 6, 2014 1:02 PM GMT

Group Stage of Europa League resumes Thursday and includes this Group A match between Spanish side Villarreal and Swiss side FC Zürich at Stadion Letzigrund. With 5 goals last meeting, is the Over a good bet?

FC Zürich vs. Villarreal, Thursday 18:00 (ESPN Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT): These two teams just played on Matchday 3 in Villarreal, Spain with the host team rallying from a 1-1 halftime tie for a 4-1 win to stay on top of Group A. Here at Stadion Letzigrund in Zürich, Switzerland on Thursday, host FC Zürich (0-1-2, 4 GF-8 GA, -4 GD, 1 point) will again be up against it versus high-flying Villarreal (2-1-0, 9 GF-2 GA, +7 GD, 7 points). Online sportsbooks have built that disparity between the first-place Spanish side and the last-place Swiss side into the line here for this Matchday 4 meeting, with visiting Villarreal -105 Favorites (bet365), Zürich lined at +260 Underdogs and the Draw also priced at +260. The Total Goals is set at 2½ (Over -125, Under +100, Ladbrokes) with the Both Teams To Score prop bet lined at Yes -162 and No +120 (BetVictor).

 

Villarreal
Villarreal can continue to control Group A—which it leads heading into Matchday 4 by 2 points over second-place Borussia Mönchengladbach (7-5)—with a win here in Switzerland and against last-place FC Zürich, The Yellow Submarine can likely continue on this voyage in UEFA Europa League play while continuing to keep an equal eye on Spanish Primera Division and Copa del Rey play. Manager Marcelino has more to work with in his Villarreal squad than does Zürich and playing against the likes of Champions League holders Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid and everyone else in Spain’s top flight of soccer a couple times each season does wonders for one’s confidence in situations like this.

On Matchday 3, Villarreal rallied from that aforementioned 1-1 halftime tie and used second-half goals from Luciano Vietto, Bruno Soriano and Giovani dos Santos to defeat FC Zürich at home, securing all three points and staying on top of Group A. Cani had Villareal’s first goal and Villarreal goalkeepers Juan Carlos played another good game in which the home team enjoyed 55% Time of Possession and had 7 quality shots on target to guest Zürich’s 3. Combined, goalkeepers Juan Carlos and and Sergio Asenjo have allowed just 2 goals in Villarreal’s first 3 Europa League group stage games.

Injury-wise, Villarreal’s CD José Antonio Dorado (hamstring) is listed as Doubtful on UEFA’S Europa League website while LB Bojan Jokic (knee) and CD Mateo Musacchio (hamstring) are both listed as out.

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FC Zürich
Swiss Super League’s FC Zürich is a very healthy Underdog (soccer betting odds of +280) at Home here on Thursday, and for good reason as Zürich has scored just 4 goals in its first 3 Group A matches while opponent Villarreal put 4 in the net against them in their last meeting on Matchday 3. Because it’s pretty much do or die for Zürich here, the pace should be fairly quick and the game should be pretty wide open to start. The weather forecast for Zürich on Thursday calls for a chance of showers and a high temperature of 47° F, so, weather could make for a slick surface at Letzigrund. This could be a good thing for both the Total Goals Over -125 (Ladbrokes) bet and the Both Teams To Score (Yes -162, BetVictor) proposition wager unless it turns into a constant downpour.

For FC Zürich, D Philippe Koch and winger Marco Schönbächler (nose) are both listed as Doubtful while CB Ivan Kecojevic (thigh), S Armando Sadiku (knee), DM Avi Rikan (groin) and F Mario Gavranovic (knee) are all injured so the home team definitely comes into this game limping. And with 0 wins and just 1 point heading into Matchday 4, that’s a problem as if Zürich could upset The Yellow Submarine here, it could jump back into the Group A race with 4 points. The first goal of this game will either create cause for hope for the hosts or possibly deflate any hopes of Zürich and manager Urs Meier in this tournament.

 

Best Approach
Concentrating solely on the Over 2½ seems to be the wisest way to go here with Villarreal’s four strikers (Vietto, dos Santos, Ikechukwu Uche and Gerard Moreno) all playing so well, The Yellow Submarine could very well score 3 goals and go Over the Total on their own here in Switzerland. FC Zürich (#137 in UEFA rankings) will have to go for it and the hosts could get hit hard by Villarreal (#37 in UEFA rankings) on the counterattack, making for a long day for goalkeeper David Da Costa. And with games against second-place Borussia Mönchengladbach (Matchday 5, Nov. 27) at home and third-place Apollon Limassol (1-0-2, 3 points) in Limassol, Cyprus (Matchday 6, Dec. 11) still on tap, Group A leaders Villarreal actually need the win here to make those next two scheduled matches that much easier and less stressful. And with 11 goals and 12 goals total in their 3 games respectively, Villarreal (3.66 gpg) and Zürich (4.0 gpg) have both played in some high-scoring games in the first three in this group.

Villarreal, the club from the best league on the planet, should find a way to win here in Zürich although the hosts should make a game of it for the first 30 to 45 minutes out of sheer desperation, creating that chaotic pace.

PREDICTION: Villarreal 3 FC Zürich 1

FREE PICKS: Over 2½ -125 (Ladbrokes), Villarreal -105 (bet365)

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