Villarreal visit Santander to play Racing. If Villarreal's troubles have all been related to their struggles on the pitch, Racing's troubles are on and off the pitch. The institutional crisis that plagued them in Primera last season continues to haunt them in the Segunda.
Racing is 18th in the table with 14 points, just 2 points away from the relegation zone. They have just scored 9 goals in 13 games. However, their record at home isnt all that bad. 2 Wins, 3 draws after a loss in the season opener.
Coach Fabri who promoted Granada to Primera last season has the experience to turn this around for Racing. However, off the pitch the ghosts of Ali Sayeed are still haunting Racing.
Villarreal continue to have problems scoring goals home and away. With just one win in the last five games they are barely staying in the playoff zone. It helps that leader Elche and Almeria have slowed down in the past 3 weeks. As discussed in the podcast, we miss a good second striker and we are not generating enough scoring opportunities when we line up with a lone striker.
Villarreal : Mellberg will be out and Hernán Pérez might not start after a long journey back after the Paraguay friendly.
Racing: US defender Carlos Bocanegra pulled his hamstring in the friendly vs. Russia and will be out for 6 weeks. GK Mario Fernandez is also ruled out.
Keepers: Juan Carlos, Mariño.
Forwards: Gerard Bordas, Pandiani, Uche, Cavenaghi.
Racing: Saul Figueroa, Dani Sotres, Francis, Gonzalo Herrero, Rochela, Goikoetxea, Ruymán, Bautista, Marcos Gullón, Óscar Pérez, Dorca, Jorge Alonso, Jairo, Bouazza, David Ferreiro, Gai Assulin, Kaludjerovic y Koné.
I forecast a very open game with both teams going for the three points. Villarreal has the better team on paper but they havent clicked together yet. A third of the season is almost over. Villarreal need to win these sort of away games if they aspire for an automatic promotion. For Racing, this is a question of survival. They could find themselves in the relegation zone if they dont win the game.
If Villarreal can score more than 1 goal. they stand a great chance of taking all the three points.