Villarreal are taking a heavy contingent of B squad players for tomorrow's friendly against Valladolid. I figure a lot of things go into this. First, Valladolid and Villarreal can be fairly tempestuous concoction. Also, Valladolid has a tendency to blow Villarreal out in preseason. And, Villarreal have to be feeling pretty good about where they are going into the season, and figure it is better to keep players safe before the season really gets going. Here is the squad (B players marked by an asterisk):
Keepers: Oliva and Juan Carlos*.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Mario*, Fuentes, Kiko*, Carlos Tomás* and Joan Oriol*.
Midfielders: Eguren, Matilla*, Fuster, Marcos Gullón*, Escudero and Cristóbal*.
Forwards: Jefferson Montero*, Marcos Ruben* and Jonathan Pereira.
Notice that none of the first-teamers on the squad got time in Thursday's match (with the exception of Fuster). Bruno is still nursing a sore back, and Marcano isn't ready to come back from his knee and ankle knocks.
Not sure if the match will be available on rojadirecta.com, but that is your best option if you want to catch it online. The match starts at 1pm eastern.
As discussed in earlier posts, Villarreal are comfortably in the lead, 3-1, in their tie against NAC Breda to advance to the group stages of the 2009-2010 Europa League. They will have the return leg at El Madrigal (dressed in yellow) on Thursday afternoon.
Transfers are still a possibility - out and in - over the last ten days of the transfer window for the Yellow Submarine. Fabricio Fuentes has been linked to San Lorenzo in Argentina. Marco Ruben from the B team has been linked to Rosario Central in Argentina, and also, in a very interesting rumor, has been linked to Celtic of the Scottish Premier League. A move for Ruben would probably be a good thing, but I can't see the logic in letting Fuentes go. We have four central defenders (Gonzalo, Godin, Marcano, and Fuentes), as well as Kiko on the B team, but with three competitions, we are still not too deep at that position. I think it would be a very foolish move to make the little money his sale would bring while in the process severely weakening one of the strongest Villarreal sides in history.
Villarreal are also rumored to be interested in another central midfielder, as we currently only have Senna, Eguren, and Bruno in the mix. Valverde has indicated he may be interested in getting Arzu from Betis on a free transfer, as his contract with the Beticos has run its course, and he does not seem too interested in playing a season in Segunda A. The backup option is the likes of Marcos Gullón and Matilla from the B team, which is a pretty good backup situation.
Nilmar came to Villarreal hoping to establish himself as a regular on the Brazil national team. Things seem to be moving in the right direction, as he has been called up for Brazil's matches against Argentina and Chile in early September. Notably, but not surprisingly, Eguren and Godin have been called up for Uruguay's national team.
Villarreal B, who lost again today in preseason play (with essentially the C team), will start the season on August 29th against local rivals Levante. They lost only two matches this preseason and are looking to be in a good position to make a strong statement in the Segunda A.
Also, Jozy Altidore made a spectacular debut in his loan to Hull City. Less than 30 seconds after he came on the pitch, he made a somersault-esque assist to set up the match-winning goal. For the next 35 minutes or so, he was creating a lot of danger, and came near goals a couple of times. It was a great way to endear himself to the Hull fans, and make a statement about his skill.
Anyone think ManCity's billions can pull Riquelme back out of Argentina?