UPDATED BELOW TWICE
Villarreal finally return to the friendly confines of El Madrigal, after travelling to London and Jerez, neither of which having been particularly productive visits. After two horrendous matches in the Carranza, Villarreal looks to regain their form against Valladolid.
The match against Valladolid is important for a couple of reasons. Foremost among them may be, despite denials from Llorente, remembering how to score (and how to win, for that matter). Over the last four matches (the only matches against serious competition), Villarreal have scored 0, 1, 0 and 0 goals. Not pretty. Second among the important notes for the game, is the matchup of ex-players; on Villarreal's side, Llorente will line up against his former mates. For Valladolid, loanee Escudero, who may just be the revelation of this season (I have a feeling!), will be taking on his once and future team.
Villarreal have a severely depleted side (once again), but do regain an important reinfocement. It is unfortunate the amount international play has sucked the players away from the team (Euro 2008 (esp. Nihat's injury), Olympics, and friendlies), but that is the price you pay for having international-caliber players and starting in the group stage of the Champions League. For tomorrow's match, Senna, Capdevila, Cazorla (Spain vs. Denmark), Gonzalo (Argentina vs. Belarus), Mati (Chile vs. Turkey), Eguren (Uruguay vs. Japan), and, I believe, Guille Franco (Mexico vs. Honduras) (he has been called up, but Villarreal did not list him as a player travelling from the squad), will all be unavailable because of their respective call-ups. Also, of course, Godin is out for a bit, and Nihat is still riding the bench with an injury. I believe Cygan is back, since I have not heard any more about his knee issues, but I could be wrong. Pires shouldn't be afraid of injury in El Madrigal.... And the favored son, Giuseppe Rossi, has returned.The available squad looks like this:
- Keepers: Diego Lopez, Sebastian "Red Card" Viera
- Defense: Angel, Javi Venta, Fuentes, Cygan*, Bruno
- Midfield: Pires, Ibagaza, Edmilson, Josico, Cani
- Forwards: Llorente, Altidore, Rossi
I can only assume Pellegrini will call in an extra defender and midfielder, if not more, for the match. But I am getting tired of playing shorthanded all the time - there are less than two weeks until the season starts!
One would think Pellegrini has had at least one very clear discussion with the team about the discipline issue from the Sevilla match. The team looked more civilized against Athletic Bilbao, but that could have just been exhaustion.
The lineup can't be that complicated to figure out ;), so here goes.
I figure Llorente will get the start against his old club. I was thinking about Cani on the wing, with Ibagaza in for Josico, but I am thinking that Angel, Viera and Cani will all be kept off the pitch for the start of the match after the Sevilla embarassment. If Cygan cannot start, I am not sure what is going to happen with the back four. Depth will not be our strength tomorrow! But I have a good feeling about Rossi getting back in there. It will be great to see how he links up with Ibagaza. Altidore will surely get some playing time as well. Similar to Bilbao, Valladolid should be a team Villarreal could take care of on a normal day - but with this squad, it is not a normal day. Villarreal could use a win, but it is not necessary; getting Rossi back in line with the team is more important. Of course, those two things could go hand-in-hand. It is going to be a tight match, and I would not put it past Escudero to punish us. Final score: 1-1.
INJURY UPDATE: Cygan should be available. Only Godin and Nihat were held out of training yesterday.
UPDATE 2: Cygan won't be there after all. Here is the official available players list:
Goalkeepers: Diego Lopez and Viera.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Ángel, Fuentes, Kiko and Nino.
Midfielders: Bruno, Edmilson, Josico, Cani, Ibagaza, Pires, Cristóbal and Matilla.
Strikers: Llorente, Rossi, Altidore and Joan Tomás.