Things only seem to be getting harder for Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine stumbles into the match only four days after an excruciating 0-0 draw with Valladolid, on top of three consecutive defeats. Then today, Valencia, Deportivo, and Malaga all find wins, dropping Villarreal into a non-European 7th place, a full six points behind fourth place.
Recreativo are sweating themselves, as the oldest team in La Liga is facing relegation. They sit on 30 points, three points away from safety. They will be without forwards Ersen Martin and Javi Guerrero for the match. Former Villarreal man Cesar Arzo will be with the squad and could get the start in defense.
Villarreal are still without vital leader Marcos Senna, and of course, are without Cazorla. Franco is also out, and Fuentes has been left out based on Pellegrini's decision. The full call for the match:
Keepers: Diego López and Viera.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Godin, Capdevila, Ángel and Cygan.
Midfielders: Eguren, Ibagaza, Bruno, Cani, Mati Fernández, Jordi Pablo and Pires.
Forwards: Nihat, Rossi y Llorente.
The way things have been going, we almost have to consider ourselves without a striker for the match as well. The last time a forward scored? Llorente on March 10, more than a month ago. The last time Rossi scored? February 25th. Nihat? Franco? Don't ask. Goals are vital to winning, and we can't seem to buy them.
Without a win in this match, Villarreal can probably forget about European soccer next term. With matches remaining against Sevilla, Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia, Villarreal would be lucky to pick up another 12 points after tomorrow's match. Considering the resurgence of Valencia, Atletico Madrid, and Malaga, things are looking very, very dark. The players have recognized the importance of tomorrow's match - but surely, they have recognized the importance of the last four matches, no? The fact is, we might just not have it left in us. Injuries have shown the true lack of depth in our squad, and we are limping towards an unhappy result.
My starting lineup:
Ángel - Gonzalo - Godin - Capdevila
Jordi Pablo -Bruno - Ibagaza - Cani
Rossi - Llorente
I do not actually expect Jordi Pablo or Bruno to get the start, but we have to start trying something different (sadly, a bit late in the season to be saying that). This is a very winnable match. Or at least it should be. Now, will we follow through?