Almería vs. Villarreal: Back in Yellow

Hungry for football? The wait is almost over. - Laura M.

Villarreal CF returns to La Liga after a one-year hiatus. Its first foe is a familiar one: newly-promoted Almería, whom Villarreal defeated to go up. Then the southerners went up in the playoff.

New division, new look, same opponent. Both Villarreal and Almería will feel at home with its rival to begin the 38-game La Liga season. 3 points at stake today in the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos.

For Almería, no more Charles to bang in the goals (he left for a piddling €1MM to Celta Vigo), but Óscar Díaz has arrived from mid-table Segunda side Lugo. Aleix Vidal and Soriano continue to man the midfield, while highly-rated Liverpool teen Suso will provide a creative spark. Expect more pressing up the park than from last year's rojiblancos, but that could easily play into Marcelino García Toral's hands.

The Villarreal squad is without the injured Javier Farinós and Bojan Jokić, newly-arrived Gabriel Paulista, and omitted Moi Gómez. Here is today's call:

Keepers: Juan Carlos, Asenjo.
Defenders: Mario, Pantic, J. Costa, Musacchio, Íñiguez, Dorado.
Midfielders: Bruno, Pina, Manu, Hernán, Aquino, Cani.
Strikers: Giovani, Uche, Jony, Perbet.

Here's my expected XI (as compared to who started on June 8):

Asenjo (Juan Carlos); Mario, Íñiguez (Mellberg), Musacchio, J. Costa; Bruno, Pina (Canteros); Hernán (Juanma), Cani; Gio (Jony), Perbet.

Arguably upgrades everywhere...not bad in a few short months. The match begins at 4 pm Eastern Time and will air in the US on beIN Sport en Español. Plenty of streams to be expected, thankfully. Endavant Villarreal!

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