No room for error as Villarreal host Xerez

Laura M.

With Girona and Almeria winning over the weekend, the pressure is on Villarreal to match those results. A win against the colista will not be as easy as it might seem; Xerez has played hard even though they were relegated several weeks ago. And with some ex-amarillos in the side, they might have some extra incentive.

All to play for at El Madrigal today when Xerez come to town. Girona and Almeria both posted wins on the weekend, so the Submarine needs three points in order to remain in second place. And since those other two teams play each other next week, the likelihood is one will take maximum points, so it's even more important to pick up three points here.

Our opponents: Xerez CD was basically a Tercera or Segunda B club through the 1990's, but beginning in 2001 they had a good run in the Segunda which culminated in a championship and promotion in 2009. However, their Primera campaign was far from a success; the azulinos never got above the relegation zone. By the twelfth week of the season, they were in 20th place, and that's where they remained.

Results in the Segunda have declined every year, from 8th in 2010-11 to 14th last year, and this year, 22nd and relegation to the hell that is Segunda B, from which return is quite difficult. We may have seen the last of the Chapin municipal stadium and its sandy, pitted pitch, which would be fine with me.

You may recall in December Villarreal played one of the worst matches I have seen a team in yellow play, surviving with a 0-0 draw only thanks to an incredible miss in front of an open goal by Lucas Porcar. Well, we have a different coach, a different style of play, a different lineup, and this game is going to be on a pitch with grass throughout.

Xerez will be missing one of their regular defenders, Iago Bouzon, who is suspended for this one. Xerez have scored 10 goals in 19 games in 2013, if you except the 4-2 win in Girona. Shows you how unusual that goal outburst was. The leading scorers on their roster, including Marquitos and Porcar, have four goals each. So if Villarreal can put two past the Xerez keeper, the odds have to be pretty good that we'll win this.

Interestingly, Xerez have scored more on the road (21) than at home (12), so maybe they can't play in a potato field either. But they've given up 38 goals in 19 away games.

Our team: Not much news to report from the team camp this week, and Marcelino has made the same call as last week:

This will be Aquino's last match with us before he heads to training for the Confenderations Cup, and I believe Pablo Iñiguez, Diego Mariño and Moi Gomez all depart shortly as well for the Spain U-21 and U-19 training, though they may still be available next Sunday.

Yet again Villarreal have made cheap tickets available to get as many people into the stadium as possible, and this time we won't have 2500 away supporters--in fact, I would be surprised if we have many at all. It's an eight-hour drive, and Xerez is already relegated.

Marcelino has said this game is just as important as the Girona match was; he's right. Let's get a win!


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