Villarreal will enter tomorrow's match against NAC Breda with a comfortable 3-1 advantage, which includes the luxury of three away goals. In other words, even were Villarreal to lose 0-2, an incredible score, they would still advance to the Europa group stages.
Of course, no one is thinking about losing. Valverde, along with many players have stressed that they can't take the result as a foregone conclusion. Of course, Villarreal will have a hard time not thinking forward a little bit to the start of the regular season on Sunday, with the difficult match away to Osasuna looming.
Since last week, neither side has fared all that great. Villarreal, admittedly in an unimportant friendly with a team consisting predominantly of B-side players, lost 1-0 to Valladolid. NAC, in a match that counts, lost 3-1 away to PSV, despite holding a 0-1 advantage until the 63rd minute. NAC have now dropped to 8th in the Eredivisie (tied for 5th on points, but 8th when taking in goal differential).
NAC are without their holding midfielder Glissen, who has a strained groin. Their traveling team is made up of:
Keepers: Ten Rouwelaar and Van Fessem; Defenders: Penders, Zwaanswijk, Loran, Snoyl and Hofstede; Midfielders: Kwakman, De Graaf, Fehér, Reuser, Gorter, Schilder and Benomar; and Forwards: Idabdelhay, Kolkka, Amoah, Cairo and Pattinama.
Unfortunately, Marcano is being held out of the match, as are Bruno, Eguren, and Escudero. Marcano is still nursing the sprained ankle and tender meniscus, and Bruno is resting his back. I believe Eguren is still suspended, although I did not know the suspension would be for two matches. Escudero was held out as a technical decision by Valverde.
Villarreal's call for the match:
Keepers: Diego López and Oliva.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Ángel, Capdevila, Godin and Fuentes.
Midfielders: Marcos Senna, Ibagaza, Pires, Cani, Cazorla and Fuster.
Forwards: Rossi, Llorente, Pereira and Nilmar.
I expect Valverde to mix up the team a little bit as he continues to try and get comfortable heading into the rest of the season. My best guess:
Javi Venta - Gonzalo - Godin - Capdevila
Cazorla - Marcos Senna - Ibagaza - Cani
Llorente - Pereira
Admittedly, the Pereira/Llorente combination is just a guess, but I would like to see it. Not going to predict a score, but I feel very comfortable that we will advance to the group stages. ENDAVANT!