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Match Preview: Villarreal v. Real Zaragoza


Villarreal, sitting four points short of second place and six points clear of fourth in La Liga, welcome Real Zaragoza into El Madrigal Sunday at 12pm et. The Yellow Submarine is coming off a tremendous win away to Barcelona, and now must stay focused in a stadium where they have been very cold offensively as of late, drawing their last three home matches. History, though, is on Villarreal's side. Zaragoza has never won at El Madrigal.

Zaragoza are missing a number of key players as they travel to Villarreal, possibly including an absence for star striker Diego Milito, who has been slow in recovering from injury. At the least, it appears Milito will not be starting and Ricardo Oliviera will be replacing him. Also missing are Cuartero, Generelo Sergio Fernandez, and Pablo Aimar. There will be over 1000 Zaragozan fans in attendance at the match.

Villarreal bring nearly a complete squad to the match, but will be without Josico and Ángel, and of course, Fuentes. Pelligrini will have the following players available: Diego Lopez, Viera; Javi Venta, Cygan, Josemi, Godín, Gonzalo, Capdevila; Senna, Bruno, Eguren, Cani, Cazorla, Pirés, Mati Fernandez; Nihat, Rossi, Guille Franco and Tomasson.

UPDATE: Guille Franco is questionable for the match.

Villarreal must stay focused on what they have achieved, but keep their eyes open to what may be available - a guaranteed spot in the Champions' League. Pelligrini does not want his team to obsess over second place: "It is not necessary for us to obsess over second place. The important thing is to maintain what we have done up until now and continue to gain a good percentage of the points on offer so we can finish in the highest possible position." Villarreal are clearly now one of the best teams in Spain, and need to keep pace in the CL positions.

For other reading: ESPN Soccernet's preview,'s preview.

Prediction: Villarreal 2-0 Zaragoza