Villarreal have not had the type of a start to the season that would normally be the preface to a season of dreams, but all is not yet lost. There was the 5-0 thrashing in the Camp Nou against Barcelona that the club had to carry around for two weeks waiting for Sevilla to come to town. They then found themselves a man down within the first half an hour against Sevilla, only to manage just holding on for a point in the contest. And then midweek, as we know, Villarreal played like some other team, sporting a 4-3-1-2, and couldn't find an offensive spark. While many are legitimately questioning Juan Carlos Garrido's tactics in the 0-2 letdown against German giants Bayern Munich, the club has to put that loss behind it and focus on securing the club's first three points of the season, three points that is definitely attainable.
Something that seems to have been lost in the mix a bit is the fact that all of Villarreal's displays to date have not been terrible. Last weekend, the club put together a remarkable performance to secure a 2-2 draw with Sevilla. In the match, they held relatively significant possession considering that they only had 10 men on the pitch, and managed the match with excellent tempo. Villarreal will have to jump on the momentum they picked up in that match, ignoring the underwhelming performance they provided midweek, and hope to secure a needed win away from home. Otherwise, they could quickly become mired in an early season relegation fight.
Granada come into the match without yet having found the back of the net in their return to the Primera. They lost their first match to Real Betis at home, 0-1, and the second match they lost just down the road in Málaga by the score of 4-0. Notable in that second match, Villarreal's former hero Santi Cazorla scored his second and third goals of this young La Liga season (the way things are going for him, Málaga may have picked him up for a steal at 20m euros). Needless to say, Granada should not be bubbling with confidence tomorrow, but may still be able to scent a little blood in the water with Villarreal laying about.
Villarreal will not have the benefit of playing at El Madrigal on Saturday, though, and will have to pick up the points in Granada's Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes. For those of you unfamiliar, Granada, it is an inland city in Andalusia, a little north and east of Malaga, and a little north and west of Almeria. The weather there normally averages about 84 degrees , but tomorrow is set to be especially warm, with highs ranging in the low to mid 90s. The early 6pm local time kickoff could mean a hot day for the Yellow Submarine.
Villarreal's call for the match:
Keepers: César and Mariño.
Defenders: Mario Gaspar, Cristián Zapata, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Jose Manuel Catalá, Carlos Marchena and Joan Oriol.
Midfielders: Bruno Soriano, Marcos Senna, Borja Valero, Ruben Cani, Camuñas and Jonathan De Guzmán.
Forwards: Giuseppe Rossi, Nilmar and Marco Ruben.
Villarreal are disappointed to see Diego Lopez's name left off the list, going back to his early red card against Sevilla. The unpredictable César will be in his place. Ángel is so close to coming back and providing some desperately needed strength on the right flank, but has not quite recovered and will not be available. Finally, the club will be happy to see Borja Valero line up in yellow, having missed the match against Bayern in midweek.
I think Garrido will hedge his bets a bit and go back to a lineup that Villarreal is known for, the 4-4-2/4-2-2-2. With Borja available, this should not be a problem.