Joan Oriol--likely to be starting for another month at least (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Injury update first:
Mateo Musacchio hurt his knee in practice yesterday but it seemed OK today. On the other hand, Javi Mata reported Marchena and DeGuzman were not training or left early for reasons unknown.
Wakaso has a broken nose and will be operated on next Monday, and Catalá, already out for some time, is likely to miss another month after injuring his knee again. Joan Oriol is certainly going to see a lot more playing time!
Granada either will or will not return Uche to us; I hope that's clear! They might be bringing in Babacar, a striker from Fiorentina (oh, look, Jorge Mendes is his agent!) and if that happens Uche will probably be sent back. However, other sources say Uche is staying since Granada doesn't have a replacement for him. So take your pick.
VIllarreal doesn't seem to be interested in dipping into the transfer market, though I suspect there are some discussions going on about signing a striker on loan. Nothing new on Lukaku...
Promotions from Villarreal B:
Interestingly, Molina (good comments about him here, btw) seems to be more willing to let Joselu play for the B team than Garrido did. Perhaps our strike force is Ruben and Nilmar, with Uche and Hernán Pérez playing up front? I don't think it helps Joselu much to simply sit on the bench of the first team--but if Nilmar doesn't come good before long Joselu is waiting to have a go.
Molina is including Gonzalo Castellani in the first team now. He had some excellent performances under Molina with the B team. One benefit Villarreal has the rest of the season is we don't have midweek games, so Molina will get a lot of time to instil his philosophy in the players via practice.
Other B team news:
Celta Vigo has expressed interest in acquiring Kiko Olivas. He's been a mainstay of Villarreal B but hasn't been able to make an impact with the first squad, so I could see this happening, especially as new B team coach Velasquez is bringing some players up from C and the B roster was already bloated.
If Joselu does travel to Huelva for the match this Saturday, he'll be returning to his home, and there's a nice appreciation of him by his hometown paper here.
Copa del Rey:
Yeah, I know we're not in it, but nice to see the team that put us out doing well. CD Mirandés won 2-0 in the home leg against Racing and frankly deserved to win by another goal, from what I saw. Highlights here, including the marvelous second goal right before the break where Pablo Infante turns a Racing defender inside out, then puts the perfect cross for Martins to score. Racing had a few chances to score as the home side tired late, but without scoring the away goal their chances of advancing must be considered slim.
Valencia host Sevilla in the cup Thursday evening, so we're hoping they'll be too tired to give us much trouble on Sunday. Certainly they're concentrating on that match right now. Meanwhile, we can be preparing for them. Endavant Villarreal!!