The first leg between Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal was a pretty good match. It had everything a fine match needs – a bit of flair on both ends, attacking mentality, sick passing, a questionable VAR decision, and a goal.
Ništa nije gotovo. Nema predaje! 🙏🏻💪🏻💙
📷 CROPIX pic.twitter.com/ZRQ5T2ZpLa
— GNK Dinamo (@gnkdinamo) April 8, 2021
Our Villarreal vs. Dinamo will take the first leg into account, obviously, but we’ll focus on the upcoming domestic matchups as well as both clubs’ recent form. Magical moments of up-and-coming stars always come to fruiting in the final stages of the Europa League.
Could we see something special from the likes of Oršić and Majer… or are we going to see more experienced players like Manu Trigueros and Daniel Parejo steal the show? Well, that’s the sort of question we plan on finding out at the end of this piece!
Villarreal vs. Dinamo Predictions
Villarreal was always going to be the soccer betting favorites against Dinamo Zagreb. Despite the Croats’ amazing win against Tottenham, Unai Emery’s expertise was enough to push Villarreal to a solid advantage ahead of the second leg.
Mind you, though, Dinamo won’t go down without a fight. Despite all the negative media attention they’ve been getting recently, for reasons outside of football, Dinamo deserves your respect. After all, they’re playing in the quarterfinals of the Europa League following a massive reverse sweep against the Spurs. It’s quite a notable feat, right?
Dinamo’s domestic title campaign seems all but smooth this season. They are at the top spot with the same number of points as second-place Osijek, but with a far superior goal advantage and a match to play. While that might seem like a resounding advantage at this point in the competition, Dinamo’s fans are used to more dominant campaigns.
Last week’s draw against Šibenik wasn’t ideal, but the result is due to EL preparations more than anything else. Dinamo is set to play against last-placed Lokomotiva this Sunday; a match they ought to win with their B squad.
The Villarreal are basing this season around the Europa League. Unai Emery is the EL specialist, having won three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla… and he’s going to do everything he can to win the competition and qualify for the Champions League next season.
Domestically, though, his team hasn’t been doing that well. They are in the seventh position at the moment, two spots away from Europa League next season, but with the same number of points as the direct competitors. Real Sociedad, Betis, and Villarreal are in a deadly race for a spot in the EL and ECL. This season of La Liga is going to be a thrilling one right until the final day!
First Leg 101
First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room – was that or was that not a penalty? Well, even though VAR confirmed it, it’s still a questionable decision. I reckon this TIFO video perfectly explains the situation. We’ve seen similar situations this season not rewarded with a penalty, so yeah, I reckon the decision is up for debate.
With that out of our way, let’s focus on the actual match. Real talk here, the Spaniards deserved the win. Even though the penalty kick wasn’t all that clear, the Villarreal were the better side and deserved to be in front ahead of the second leg.
The midfield is what decided this match in the end. Well, technically, it was decided by a questionable penalty, but when talking about the match as a whole, Villarreal’s dominance came from their superiority in the center of the field. Their aggression forced Dinamo to make several key mistakes. That, combined with smart on-the-ball solutions and technically gifted attackers allowed Villarreal to exploit Dinamo’s defensive weaknesses.
The Croats will have to work on boosting their chance creation and midfield creativity. The Dinamo Zagreb have a bunch of world-class technically-gifted players, and seeing them struggle in this department in the first leg was unexpected, to say the least.
Krznar ought to mix things up a bit for the second leg. We might see a different midfield trio start the match. Perhaps giving Oršić more freedom and breathing space in the attacking third is the right course of action here. They’ve done it to Spurs in the second leg and look how that turned out for them…
Villarreal played a great first leg in Zagreb! As stated earlier, it’s their midfield that won the match last night! The wicked triangle a la Parejo, Capoue, and Trigueros wreaked havoc on Dinamo and totally dominated the midfield tempo. In possession, they kept feeding the ball to the attackers in rather dangerous areas. They were unlucky to get the second, with Livaković and Dinamo’s last four dealing with more than a few outstanding goalscoring opportunities.
As for Dinamo, Livaković has done an amazing job of keeping the score at 1:0. Their best outfield players, Majer and Oršić, slapped together a couple of dangerous opportunities in the first half. Ivanušec was there too, though his efforts were shadowed by two missed promising opportunities.
In fact, his arrival further slowed down an already stale attack-creation of the Croatian team, which resulted in constant on-the-ball mistakes… a surprising feat for a team packed with technically brilliant individuals. Long story short, I expect more from Petković in the away leg; fingers crossed his shoulder causes no further problems.
Odds are courtesy of BetOnline. You can check out our BetOnline review here.
Let’s have a blast with this one, boys and girls! At +200, both teams to score and more than 2.5 goals is outright amazing! We know for a fact Dinamo will start the match with more aggression. We know for a fact Villarreal will have plenty of space to work with because of Dinamo’s aggressive tactics… especially if the game is goalless with less than 30 minutes on the scoreboard. Three goals in thirty minutes sound too much, I know, but it’s not that difficult in a 2-leg scenario such as this one.