(thanks to Robin Harris (orient1) for the photo: Robin with "El Rifle" Pandiani at his presentation. Unfortunately, Robin has scored as many goals this season for Villarreal as Cani and Uche COMBINED; we need to put that right soon!)
We've started out this season mostly playing clubs who either were promoted to the Segunda after last season (RM Castilla) or finished near the bottom of the pack (Sabadell, Guadalajara), so this weekend's match against Cordoba may provide a truer picture of where we are.
Last year Cordoba edged Almeria to get into the Segunda playoffs but then went out to Real Valladolid, third placed finishers and eventual playoff winners. It seemed at the time the problem for Cordoba was they needed a little more firepower; scoring only 52 goals all season, and none in the playoff round, they fell well below the other clubs earning promotion.
This season the problem has only been worse because during the offseason Brazilian striker Charles was sold to Almeria; we loaned Joselu to them but so far he hasn't found the scoresheet in three games, and the club has only six goals in their first six league matches.
So far this season Cordoba are twelfth in the table, with eight points from six matches; two 2-0 home wins (Racing, Girona) and two away draws (Murcia, Lugo) providing the points. Their defense was a strong point last year, and is again, with only four goals allowed to date.
Alberto Garcia has been their keeper the last few years; ahead of him is a back four that has come up through the ranks and/or played for several years with this club (Fuentes, Galvez, Teña, Reyes), so they communicate well and keep things tight. Ex-Villarreal man Kiko Olivas could see action here also.
Their midfield is experienced too, with Abel Gomez, Pedro, Lopez Garai, Lopez Silva and Carlos Caballero the most likely to see action. Up front, Javier Patiño and Sebastian Dubarbier have been sharing the duties, with Joselu coming off the bench sometimes (though we are not sure he will be allowed to play against us since he's on loan).
We'll post a more thorough preview toward the weekend as team news filters through. ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!
Expect a tight one; Cordoba lost to Elche 1-0 at home and Alcorcon 2-1 on the road. Full preview later in the week.