Sunrise along the Orange Coast. We're a little short on B team photos, so enjoy. (Courtesy of Giuseppe Rossi and twitter, btw)
Yes, it's time for another episode of Friday Night Lights from El Madrigal. The Mini Submarine has managed to move away from the drop zone on the strength of three straight victories; today's game is important to keep the momentum going. And since the four teams currently in the drop zone play each other this weekend,a result would be helpful in keeping us at some distance from that group.
Our opponents: When Villarreal traveled to Cordoba back in October, Los Califas had won five in a row, but we escaped with a 1-1 draw, courtesy of a Joselu goal. Now they've won 4 of 5, including a road win at Xerez, to get themselves back into the promotion hunt.
On deadline day Cordoba acquired Airam from us to bolster their attack, which has been a problem. The four top teams in the table have scored 40+ goals this season, Cordoba only 32 (and Hercules, in sixth, only 30), and 12 of these goals have come from ex-Rayo player Borja Garcia. Cordoba's Brazilian striker Charles, who had 15 last year, has 5.
If Cordoba are to get into the playoffs and back to the Primera for the first time since 1972, they need to continue to eke out 1-goal wins (9 so far this year). Their next two games are key, too, with a trip to Depor and a home game against Hercules coming up. After that, their run-in isn't too bad, except the last game of the season at Celta.
The Mini-Submarine: We're still among the clubs with the worst defensive record in the league, but our variation about the mean is increasing. In our last ten matches, Velasquez's men have five shutouts. In our first eighteen matches, we had only two!
Of course, we still managed to give up three goals to Alcorcon and Alcoyano. But since our opponents this time don't begin with the letter A.....
Team news: Coach Velasquez hasn't released the team yet, but we do know Joselu will be back, Jaume Costa may be with the first team, Truyols is suspended, and Iñiguez is injured. Other than that, everyone appears to be available.
Villarreal B is trying to win four games in a row in the Segunda for only the second time. Last year Javi Gracia's men did it, but then lost 11 of the next 15 and Gracia lost his job.
Prediction: Our first scoring draw since mid-October? Villarreal B 1-1 Cordoba.
Don't forget the game starts at 4PM EDT, and there will be streams! Endavant Mini-Submarino!!