Jozy Altidore is expected to get his first start for Villarreal tomorrow evening, as the Yellow Submarine takes on Polideportivo Ejido in the Copa del Rey. The game should be a bit of a step down in competition for the club, after having taken on a surprisingly ebullient Aalborg and and Atletico side that would not say die. Pellegrini seems to think so at least, having called up a weakened lineup for the match:
Keepers: Diego López and Viera.
Defenders: Cygan, Javi Venta, Fuentes, Ángel and Godín.
Midfielders: Cani, Bruno, Edmilson, Senna, Mati Fernández and Santi Cazorla.
Forwards: Altidore, Rossi, Guille Franco and Llorente.
Nihat, Eguren and Ibagaza are still out with injury. Ibagaza should be back soon, and the good news is that Nihat and Eguren are both jogging during practice. Gonzalo, Capdevila and Pires have all been given a break, being left out of the lineup for "technical reasons." Good move by Pellegrini, especially as to Gonzalo, as he needs a bit of time off.
It should be a very different lineup than we are used to. It will be very interesting to see (read about after the fact) how the chemistry is. I will go with Kqql's proposed lineup, because it seems pretty likely.
Angel, Fuentes, Cygan, Venta
Cani, Edmilson, Bruno, Mati
Assuming he is right, I really want to see something out of Mati and Cani. As I voiced Sunday (in my ill-humored state), I think it might be time for Mati and Cani to move on. They have had multiple years to step up, and no matter how much you want a player to perform, the club just cannot continue to bring the team down in order to give a particular player a shot. We still could get high value for both of them, and we have the midfield depth (out on loan) to push at least one of them out, if not both.
The opportunity for both Cygan and Viera to get back on the pitch, is great, but not quite as exciting as seeing Altidore get a full match out there. He and Franco should work well together, as Franco has been good about helping Jozy along in his time with the club.
Prediction: Villarreal 3 - 0 Polideportivo Ejido. Second prediction: Jozy gets 2 goals!