In just over an hour (10am eastern), Villarreal and West Ham meet in the Bobby Moore Cup, a match to honor legendary Hammer Bobby Moore, on the 50th anniversary of his West Ham debut. Matthew Upson, West Ham defender, will wear the number 6 shirt for the first half; at halftime, he will change into his new number 15, and the number 6 will be forever retired at the club. Part of the proceeds of the ticket sales, plus a matching donation from West Ham, are going to bowel cancer research.
Villarreal come in still having not lost since April, most recently coming off a 2-1 victory over Zaragoza. Villarreal have almost a full contingent of players (and then some (Josico)), but are still short in the striker area:
Keepers: Diego Lopez and Viera;
Defenders: Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Ángel, Bruno, Godin, Cygan, Fuentes and Capdevila;
Midfielders: Josico, Marcos Senna, Pires, Edmilson, Mati Fernandez, Cani, Cazorla, Ibagaza and Eguren;
Strikers: Guille Franco and Llorente.
The squad will, in all likelihood, be starting in a 4-2-3-1 lineup. I think the Spanish contingent will get the start, but should not be expected to go past 45 minutes. My hopeful lineup:
(I really want to see Matias in there!) West Ham, similar to Liverpool, should be much closer to match-ready than Villarreal is, although Villarreal are surely getting closer. West Ham are without Anton Ferdinand, Kieron Dyer, and Craig Bellamy, and of course, they recently bought Freddie Ljungberg out of his contract.
A guessed score: 2-3. West Ham is not a bad club, but Villarreal are better, and with Senna, Cazorla and Capdevila available, the squad should pick up a good bit of last year's fluidity. Endavant Villarreal!