Granada will welcome Villarreal to the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes on Saturday for a meeting with significant importance at both ends of the La Liga table.
The visitors find themselves battling for a spot in the top six, while their hosts sit just one place and four points above the relegation zone after four straight league defeats.
After an impressive campaign and eventual ninth-placed finish in La Liga last season, Granada have found the new term far more difficult and currently see themselves in a battle to avoid relegation.
Despite enjoying a brief revival between late November and early January, going seven league games without a defeat and earning 13 points, the Nazaries have since been dragged back into the mix following four straight losses.
The climb was first halted by 4-2 and 2-0 defeats to Getafe and Osasuna respectively, before Roberto Moreno’s men fell to a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of league leaders Real Madrid.
Granada then met Real Sociedad last weekend, and the losing run was stretched as Mikel Oyarzabal and Rafinha got on the scoresheet to send the visitors home empty-handed.
Now sitting 17th after 24 games with just 24 points, four more than Alaves in the drop zone, the Nazaries will be desperate to correct their form to put a vital cushion between themselves and the threat of relegation, but they face another tough test on Saturday.
Granada’s Antonio Puertas celebrates scoring their first goal with Carlos Bacca on January 8, 2022
Villarreal travel south looking to extend their league unbeaten run to four games, having recently climbed up to seventh spot in the Spanish top-flight table.
While the Yellow Submarine experienced a slow start to the new campaign under Unai Emery, they now appear to have found a more impressive run of form, earning 20 points from their last nine league games.
After a four-game winning run was halted by a draw with Atletico Madrid and a loss to Elche, Emery’s men again posted back-to-back victories, defeating 15th-placed Mallorca and third-placed Real Betis 3-0 and 2-0 respectively.
They stretched their unbeaten run to three games last time out by holding league leaders Real Madrid to a goalless draw on home turf, making it three consecutive clean sheets with only four sides having conceded fewer than the 23 goals that Villarreal have shipped in the top flight.
Having now climbed to seventh spot after their slow start, with fourth-placed Barcelona only three points ahead, the Yellow Submarine can give their hopes of a top-four finish another huge boost with what would be a 10th league win of the campaign on Saturday.