Villarreal-Elche: It's crunch time, Submarine!

Villarreal host Elche at El Madrigal on Sunday morning needing a win. Any win will do, though a comprehensive win would be even better. Javier Aquino returns to the squad along with Jaume Costa.

Villarreal play their most important game of the season (so far) Sunday morning in El Madrigal against an Elche squad that has looked surprisingly fallible of late. The illicitanos were on fire during the first half of the campaign, winning nine of their first eleven matches and picking up 49 points in their first 21 games, only allowing 11 goals in that span.

Their second half of the campaign, though, has been less impressive. Whether it's just that they have been coasting for awhile, or have simply come back to their true level, I don't know, but in their last 15 games they have 24 points, and only 9 in their last 8 matches. Their defense has remained strong, but the attack has dried up. With a nine-point lead over the third placed team, they have to feel they're still going to win automatic promotion, but it's no longer an absolute certainty.

The match between these two clubs in early December was perhaps the point at which then-coach Velasquez lost many of the Villarreal supporters, because he included six defenders (two playing in midfield) in his starting XI, and our "attack" consisted of Walter Pandiani, with modest support from Manu and Moi. We were clearly playing for a 0-0 draw, and we didn't get that, a shot from Elche's leading scorer Ferran Corominas deflecting off two Villarreal players and into the net in the 71st minute.

For a team that was ruling the roost, Elche were amazingly unimpressive in that match, and their team won't be much changed from that day. But Villarreal will certainly take a different approach, and hopefully Perbet and Gerard will start together and enjoy some goal-scoring opportunities.

Our team:

Marcelino has gone for the strongest team he can put out there, at least in the 18. Gone is Juanma; Jaume Costa and Aquino return.

Keepers: Juan Carlos, Diego Mariño.

Defenders: Musacchio, Mario, Mellberg, Joan Oriol, Jaume Costa, Pablo Íñiguez.

Midfielders: Marcos Senna, Bruno, Cani, Trigueros, Aquino, Canteros y Moi Gómez.

Strikers: Uche, Perbet, Jonathan Pereira y Gerard Moreno.

Elche's defense should be tested early if Villarreal can return to its more free-flowing play of late March and early April before Aquino and Jony went down, and as noted above our visitors have not been scoring much of late. So the opportunity is there--we MUST seize it. Endavant Villarreal!


Follow us on Twitter

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Villarreal USA

You must be a member of Villarreal USA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Villarreal USA. You should read them.

Join Villarreal USA

You must be a member of Villarreal USA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Villarreal USA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker