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Preview: Sevilla v Villarreal - Matchday 31

Villarreal face one of the toughest matches of the year, as they take on a very strong Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan. There are so many distractions buffeting the squad, from aspirations to the La Liga title [which of course require quick rebuttals by the team] to rumors of an imminent departure for Pellegrini. Not to mention the Yellow strike force is decimated for the weekend. Needless to say, things are not looking great for a decisive win in Seville tomorrow.

Sevilla have been on a touch of a slide over the last two weeks, having lost to the two Madrid squads, but as a general rule have been playing very well as of late. Villarreal come in roaring hot, having won the last four and are undefeated in nine. This weekend will be a major determining factor of the season for the two squads, and could easily turn into one of two things: the win that pushes Villarreal over the top and puts away any worries about falling out of CL positions while also sounding the loudest war cry yet to Madrid, or it is the match in which Sevilla makes its last push for Champions League glory for next season.

Sevilla come in with a line of injuries for the match. Striker Javier Ernesto Chevantón and Defenders Julien Escudé and Ivica Dragutinovic are out. Christian Paulson, Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanouté are questionable.

So, while it may sound positive for Villarreal that some of Sevilla's best players will be busy acquiring splinters, things are not so rosy in the yellow shirt . . . .

Villarreal are missing at least half, and possibly 3/4 of the forwards in the squad. Tomasson and Guille are out. Then, Nihat had to pull out of practice and is doubtful. And while Mati, Godín and Gonzalo were low yesterday, they have returned to full strength and will be ready for the match.

So where does that leave Villarreal for their lineup? Should be the normal back line, with Diego Lopez in goal, Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Godín and Capdevila in defense. The midfield is where things could initially get a little tricky, but it will probably be Cazorla, Eguren, Senna and Pires (Cani the first sub in at 60'). Then, it could be Mati (?) and Rossi up front, unless Pellegrini decides to completely alter the lineup. Without Guille or Tomasson, though, going with a 4-5-1 would be difficult.

Prediction: Probably the hardest outcome all year to predict, with so many injuries and so many expectations, not to mention playing in the intimidating Sanchez Pizjuan. Surely Villarreal are feeling the pressure, and the rumors coming from the Culés regarding Pellegrini must be unsettling. Still, forever the optimist, with our defense, I am expecting the tie to finish 1-1.