Match Preview/Thread: Villarreal - Malaga

Well, we couldn't get it to work against the second-worst team in La Liga, so perhaps the combination of playing in El Madrigal and facing the third-worst La Liga team will add together for at least a point?

Ernesto Valverde's position as manager has to be on the line at this point. Villarreal's story doesn't need to be repeated here, but we all know it is bad. After six losses in the last seven (with the only "positive" result being a 0-0 draw against a 10-man Espanyol side), I cannot imagine a result that would make it hard to fire Valverde. Clearly, Valverde is a good coach - he has done it at a number of other clubs - but he just hasn't done it here. Perhaps it is a drastic change of style, perhaps it is not understanding his personnel, or maybe it is just not being able to connect with the players on a level to get them to believe in what he is doing, but one way or another, nothing has worked, and we are approaching a point in the season where if we do not turn things around, we might not at all. And one bad season for Villarreal could be catastrophic - a small club, in a bad economy, having a season where everything is put at risk - and it really makes you stop and worry a bit.

Regardless of who will be manager at the midweek Copa match, Villarreal must pick up three points this week. There simply has to be a victory to pull the players back from the brink.

Santi Cazorla is out with a sciatic issue, and Ibagaza is still sitting on the sidelines with his muscle issues. Fuentes has been left out for the unspecific "physical complaints." Pires and Gonzalo are both suspended. The squad is thin. Valverde only called seventeen:

Goalkeepers: Diego López and Xavi Oliva.
Defenders: Venta, Angel, Godin, Marcano, and Capdevila.
Midfielders: Eguren, Bruno, Senna, Fuster, Cani, and Escudero.
Forwards: Rossi, Nilmar, Llorente and Jonathan Pereira.

So, I know this is a foolish thought, but I think Villarreal really might pull out the win tomorrow. I do not think we will be able to keep a clean sheet, but I think we can pull out a 2-1 victory. I have no idea where the two goals are going to come from - perhaps Diego Lopez on a kick the length of the field, and a goal from Fuster who comes in for the last 2 minutes of stoppage time in a 1-1 match.

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