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Villarreal at Halfway

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Since it would be a little ridiculous to write a match report on a match I did not see, here are a couple of English language notes on the match: ESPN; Goal.com. After the 2-0 victory today, Villarreal find themselves in fifth place, a point out of the Champions League places, but I think in a significantly different frame of mind than they were in a month ago. As of right now, the season feels like it is just starting - but with a five point disadvantage against the likes of Sevilla and Real Madrid. I do not think anyone is seriously considering Villarreal for a title chase at this point, but a second-place finish is still attainable.

Looking ahead, Villarreal have a favorable path in front of them for a time. In the next 11 matches, we play the same schedule in which we managed 7 wins and 4 draws to start the season. And it seems pretty clear that two of the draws - Osasuna and Espanyol - which were both on the road, should be counted as wins in the upcoming weeks.

In club news, Edmilson is looking away. Palmeiras and Portsmouth are both thought to be gathering serious offers for the central midfielder. Llaneza, though, has come out against the idea, saying that Villarreal do not have the resources on the field to let the player (or Fuentes) go.

Villarreal have been linked to another incoming player - Cruziero's defensive midfielder Ramíres Santos do Nascimento. Valencia and Espanyol are also interested in his services, and his agent has acknowledged Spanish contact. Ramires is 21 and plays for the Brazil U-23 team. He has a bit of an offensive spark, having scored 17 goals in 82 matches with his club.

And yes, Villarreal are without hitman Nihat for the next four weeks. Team doctors want the players knee to recover to 100% before he is allowed to take his place on the field again. Losing him is tough, but with Rossi again finding the back of the net (albeit on a penalty), Villarreal seems to be regaining its goalscoring touch.

Against Osasuna, Fuentes will again be called on, but this time to balance out the other side of the central defense. Godin picked up his fifth yellow card today, so he will be out next weekend. Also, Angel is thought to have broken a bone in his hand, and could be down for a time.