Our last visit to Pamplona, December 2011, marked the beginning of the end (or perhaps the middle of the end) of the Garrido Era. A Marco Ruben goal gave Villarreal a lead, but Garrido went ultra-defensive with his substitutions, Osasuna scored twice to win the match, and the vultures circled overhead as our coach defended his strategy.
Of the Villarreal team on the pitch that day, only Mario, Musacchio, Cani and Bruno remain (Hernán Pérez was on the bench). All four should start for us. A fifth player who started for us that day was Juan Oriol, and he should start as well, but for Osasuna.
The Gorritxoak (Basque for 'little red ones', "los rojillos"being the Spanish equivalent) have neither of the goal scorers that day, nor do they have Nekounam or Lamah, whom I remember as being their most dangerous players. They still have Andres Fernandez in goal, and their defense is largely unchanged, plus they have added De Los Cuevas from Sporting, who always played well against us.
Recent results at El Sadar:
May 2011: Osasuna 1-0 Villarreal (last game of the season and nothing at stake; I hardly remember this one)
August 2009: Oddly enough, we played at El Sadar the last weekend in August in the 2009-10 season, but it was Ernesto Valverde's debut behind the Villarreal bench in La Liga, not the third match of the season as this year. Anyway, it was a 1-1 draw, with Santi Cazorla and Walter Pandiani sharing the goals. Interestingly, Jony Pereira came on as a sub in that one.
Villarreal's last win at Osasuna came in May 2007, when Pellegrini's men defeated the home side 4-1 behind a second-half hat trick from Diego Forlán, Robert Pires getting the other goal for us. Cani started for us then, too. Does anyone remember Roberto Soldado's season in Osasuna? Yes, he appeared in that game.
Enough of this, on to today.
Osasuna are without Flaño, Marc Bertran, Nino and Lolo (injured), Sartrustegui (coach's decision), Villarreal are without Jokic and Farinós (injured), Moi and Paulista (coach's decision).
There should be abundant streams, and if you are lucky enough to have the BeInSport Spanish-language channel as part of your TV package, they will broadcast the game live. And of course, Javi Mata and associates will be broadcasting for Radio Vila-real from the match too. ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!!