Granada v Villarreal - Saturday 19:15, Sky Sports 3
Two teams who had very differing seasons face off on the opening weekend in La Liga. Granada only managed to avoid the drop by one point last term but under new ownership and with a new boss in Paco Jemez they’ll hope to go better this time. Villarreal in contrast, went from strength to strength under Marcelino and had their best league finish since 2010/11, finishing fourth, but the manager’s left after a dispute with the board and Fran Escriba takes over after joining from Getafe.
Granada’s defence was all over the place last season as they finished with the fourth worst record in the league, shipping 69 goals. However, they were more productive up the other end of the pitch as they netted 46 times, and with Jemez in the dugout punters can certainly expect more goals this season. They’ve lost their three leading scorers though, so it might take a while for the attack to come together with the fragile defence needing some extra protection from midfield.
Villarreal had the fifth best defence last season as they kept an impressive 17 clean sheets. Eric Bailly departure to Man Utd is a blow, but against this Granada attack they should be OK. They do have a few problems up front of their own, with Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu missing. However, we think they can get back on track after a disappointing result against Monaco in midweek and they look a big price considering they won this fixture 3-1 a year ago. Moreover, given both sides weaknesses up front, the Yellow Submarine to win to nil looks the pick of the bets in this one.