Villarreal v Levante - Sunday 11:00, Sky Sports 2

Some habits, once formed, are hard to break. For the past few weeks, it has suited Villarreal to play it cagey and let their fortunes rest in the realm of fine margins. Sitting on an eight-point cushion in the race for fourth place, the emphasis isn’t so much on winning games as avoiding defeat.

Trouble is, when you’ve drawn five of the last eight matches and spent over seven hours deadlocked at 0-0, it’s not so easy to switch back to the mindset required when playing at home to a team who are bottom of the table, less so when evidence is mounting that said team are suddenly getting their act together.

Levante were comfortable 3-0 winners against Getafe last weekend. They went ahead after 10 minutes and effectively put the game to bed with a Giuseppe Rossi penalty shortly before half-time. Having captured Rossi during the January window, it was seen as an affirmation of their survival bid, the moment when the Granotes found a renewed sense of purpose.

They are not your everyday bottom of the table side. When Levante regroup and convince themselves that everything is in place to climb the table, they usually fulfil their own prophecy by stringing together a run of unexpected results. The mood around Orriols now is similar to what it was last February when six wins in 13 matches lifted them to safety.

Victory at El Madrigal is possibly a stretch, though, and the 14/5 available on the draw is better value than the 5/1 about the away win, because Villarreal have the tools to fight back if they do go behind, but they might be found wanting for the desire needed to force the breakthrough when the scores are level.
Draw - 1pt @ 11/4

Deportivo v Granada - Sunday 17:15, Sky Sports 2

Deportivo are winless in eight matches since the winter break but the mood remains relatively calm around the Riazor, mainly because survival is the only objective and the Galicians remain eight points clear of the relegation zone in spite of their recent slump.

To the outside observer, it’s mildly irritating because their performance data deserves better than a season that peters out into nothing. Their 53 per cent shot ratio figure is sixth best in the league, better than the likes of Villarreal, Celta Vigo, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.

However, there’s also something reassuring about Victor Sanchez and the consistency of his approach because their games tend to follow a familiar pattern, and it’s one that suggests there could be value in the 8/1 about Deportivo to win 2-0 here. Confidence is rooted in the fact that Granada have lost eight of their last ten league matches, conceding 26 goals in the process.

This season, a dozen of Deportivo’s games have produced exactly two goals but eight 1-1 scorelines far outweigh three 2-0 wins. So often, it comes down to the killer second goal, which Depor don’t bag enough. For a team that has opened the scoring 13 times, six wins is a poor return. Against a side as weak as Granada, though, they might finally have the ideal opportunity to demonstrate what exactly it is they are continually trying to do.
Deportivo to win 2-0 - 1pt @ 8/1