Villarreal vs Atalanta Preview and Expected Lineups – UCL Round 1

The Group F encounter at the Estadio de la Ceramica will play host to the first ever European meeting between Europa League champions Villarreal and Italian aces Atalanta.

In a group that involves the likes of Premier League giants Manchester United and Swiss champions Young Boys, both teams will hope to get off to a positive start to their respective European seasons.

Villarreal vs Atalanta Preview

The Yellow Submarines enter the clash for the first time since the end of August, when they drew 2-2 with Atletico Madrid in La Liga. They started their season with a loss against Chelsea on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup final and have since not recorded even a single win having played four competitive matches (D3, L1).

Their extended rest period will mean they will enter the encounter fresher than Atalanta, who lost 2-1 at home to Fiorentina over the weekend.

The Italians have struggled with consistency under Gian Piero Gasperini this season, winning just one match so far in four Serie A matchdays (W1. D1, L2) – a narrow 2-1 win over Torino, thanks to Roberto Piccoli’s 93rd minute winner.

Unai Emery’s side will be the third consecutive Spanish side to take on Atalanta in the Champions League, after Valencia and Real Madrid in the past two seasons.

Having last played in the continental tournament a decade ago, Villareal will look to rid the ghosts of their previous experience of six losses in the 2011/12 Champions League group stages.

La Dea will be making their third successive appearance in the group stages ever since coming into the limelight.

Previous Results

VillarrealL, D, D, D

AtalantaL, W, D, L

Expected Lineups and Team News


The Spanish side will opt for four in the back and midfield led by two main strikers in Gerard Moreno and Boulaye Dia. Geronimo Rulli will take reins between the posts, behind Estupinan, Mandi, Raul Albiol and Juan Foyth.

The midfield looks to don a similar setting, led by Alberto Moreno and Yeremi Pino on the wings, with Etienne Capoue and Manuel Trigueros in the central area.

Star striker Moreno was doubtful but is expected to start but Villareal will be without Samuel Chukwueze due to a hamstring problem.

4-4-2 – Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Mandi, Estupinan; Pino, Trigueros, Capoue, A Moreno; G Moreno, Dia


Juan Musso is Atalanta’s No.1 at the back. Berat Djimisiti, Jose Luis Palomino and Rafael Toloi are set to man the three wall defence, behind Mario Pasalic and Remo Freuler in central midfield.

Joakim Maehle and Robin Gosens are expected to operate as wingers, to support the front three of Ruslan Malinovskyi, Duvan Zapata and Josip Illicic.

Hans Hateboer and Luis Muriel are Atalanta’s absentees through injury for this game.

3-4-3 – Musso; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Maehle, Pasalic, Freuler, Gosens; Ilicic, Zapata, Malinovskyi

Prediction: Villarreal 2-2 Atalanta

Both teams are undergoing a rough patch and a tight contest is expected to be fought out between the two. Unai Emery’s men have the ability to hold out Atalanta’s strike potential, but La Dea’s defensive leaks have been much too apparent in recent match days. A draw is in the books.

UCL 2021/22 Group F – Matchday 1

Date: Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Kick off: 20:00 CET

Venue: Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal