Villarreal travel to take on Elche at their Martinez Valero ground on Tuesday, needing either a 3-3 draw or a flat-out win to progress in this competition after the 2-2 draw at El Madrigal.
The team has been released, and a couple of points need to be made. Bruno is back, his suspension for the Copa over; Cani is NOT included, and we won't know until Friday whether he's available for Sevilla or not. Sergio Asenjo, who was a standout in goal against Barcelona (as he has been all year) is out as well with a muscle strain, and is not certain for the Sevilla match. So, Juan Carlos, step forward!!
Here's the squad:
- Keepers: Juan Carlos and Aitor.
- Defenders: Pantic, Jaume Costa, Jokic, Musacchio, Gabriel and Dorado.
- Midfielders: Pina, Bruno, Trigueros, Moi Gómez, Hernán Pérez and Aquino.
- Strikers: Giovani, Uche, Perbet and Jonathan Pereira.
For his part, Marcelino has said we are going there to win and will put out the most competitive team. Elche is well-organized and can capitalize on errors (as we saw in the first leg) so we have to avoid them. He also said the 4-5-1 against Barcelona was something he would do again, as it proved to snuff them out reasonably well, but that obviously Elche will be different.
Finally, he said Asenjo was being left out of the team "as a precaution" though indications were his injury was not serious; as for Cani, the "intention is that he be available for Sevilla" but it is not certain.
Villarreal is offering a bus trip to the match (on an early Tuesday evening in Spain) for €20, including an entry to the game. Let's hope lots of groguets are able to take advantage of that.
For the rest of us, I did see Beinsport is carrying it on their Spanish channel, so there should be good streams available even if you can't get that channel directly. Plus of course Javi Mata (and Monica B., Abrahan, etc.) on Radio Vila-real.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The European Commission has announced it will be investigating seven Spanish football clubs (including Real Madrid and Barcelona) to see if they illegally received state aid. Villarreal is not included, though Hercules and Elche are. A reasonably complete story (in English) from AS is here:
Our Castellón Airport sponsorship contract is in the news, though:
Yes, we got money from it, but to be honest if the airport had opened it would have been well worth the money spent! A lot of the political discussion seems to be about the fact that the details of the contract, as well as others covering such events as the Valencian Grand Prix, were kept secret.
And yes, Valencia CF has indeed fired Miroslav Djukic, a couple of months after assuring everyone he would be in his job regardless of what happened. Early rumored candidate to replace him is Juan Antonio Pizzi, who yesterday won the Argentina Apertura with San Lorenzo (the Pope's club, as well as Gonza's). Sounds as though President Salvo's press conference was pretty strange, with the "For Sale? Valencia CF is not for sale!!" comments:
Finally, a couple of items from fellow SBN blogs: first, Andre Villas-Boas, our old "friend" from the Europa League semifinal, is fired by Tottenham Hotspur, probably less for results than for the fact he's a complete jerk:
It just shows you the low regard for the Europa League, doesn't it? Pepe Mel, Djukic and Villas-Boas--three managers who got their club to the knockout rounds, but all gone...
Speaking of which, the draws were made for the Europa League and Champions League.
Champions League first:
Tuesday 18 February & Wednesday 12 March: Manchester City FC v FC Barcelona, Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Paris Saint-Germain
Wednesday 19 February & Tuesday 11 March: AC Milan v Club Atlético de Madrid, Arsenal FC v FC Bayern München
Tuesday 25 February & Wednesday 19 March: Olympiacos FC v Manchester United FC, FC Zenit v Borussia Dortmund
Wednesday 26 February & Tuesday 18 March: Galatasaray AŞ v Chelsea FC, FC Schalke 04 v Real Madrid CF
Europa League draw, for round of 32 and 16, is here:
Oh, look, we could have Sevilla-Betis in the final 16. But never mind, Garrido's men will come up against Rubin Kazan (including ex-amarillos Ivan MArcano and Wakaso Mubarak) in the round of 32!
and, we have the first of a series of articles on Qatar, host for the 2022 World Cup. An excellent read:
I'm thinking Euros in France in 2016 might be a lot more fun....
Enjoy the day (or evening) and ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!!!