Four matches, no wins, and nineteenth (yes, that is a 1 followed by a 9, the number just before 20) in the table. Our dreams of Champions League glory are so far away. Now, the concern is finding a way to win a single match. And the reality is that tomorrow is not going to be easy.
The Galacian side are always a difficult matchup for Villarreal, and even more so when the Yellow Submarine has to head into the treacherous El Riazor. But there is good news. The last four years have brought alternating all or nothing results when the two clubs met in La Coruna: 05/06: 0-2; 06/07: 2-0; 07/08: 0-2; 08/09: 3-0. In other words, it's our turn for both a clean sheet and a victory.
Deportivo have to be at least satisfied, if not outright happy, with their season to this point. They played Madrid very tight (and deserved a draw, I would argue) in the season's first match, and have recorded wins against Malaga and Xerez. The other stumble came against Espanyol, where they lost at home 2-3. A win tomorrow would see the team slide into the Champions League positions and bring out cries that SuperDepor has returned.
There is a mixed bag in terms of personnel issues this week. Villarreal fans around the wold will breathe a heavy sigh of relief when they see Marcos Senna take the field after a missing most of the season to this point. Villarreal fans relief will be counteracted by the loss of Gonzalo to the midweek red card he saw, though, leaving our defense in the not-so-sure hands of a Marcano/Godin partnership (think: 3-2 loss to Athletic). For the match, Valverde has traveled with the following 18:
Keepers: Diego López and Oliva.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Ángel, Marcano, Godin and Capdevila.
Midfielders: Escudero, Bruno, Senna, Pires, Cazorla, Eguren and Cani.
Forwards: Jonathan Pereira, Llorente, Nilmar and Rossi.
I really do not know what the midfield will look like with the return of Senna while Ibagaza is still out. Will Valverde return to the tried and tested Senna/Eguren combo, or will he try to get a little more offensive? Notably, Escudero has been included while Fuster has been left out on a technical decision. Fuster has not shown much to this point, but I don't know if this is a move of desperation for a little midfield help or if Valverde is just ready to give Escudero a go.
My best guess:
Javi Venta - Godin - Marcano - Capdevila
Pires - Cani - Senna - Cazorla
Llorente - Rossi
I really hope to see a reunion of Llorente and Rossi up front to see if we can get away from our reliance on the midfield for goals. It wasn't the best combination last week in Bilbao, but it has definitely worked in the past.
For those in the US, you can catch the match on GolTV at 3pm, hopefully with anyone but Ray and Phil calling the match. If you don't have GolTV, look for it at rojadirecta.com.
We need this win. Badly. ENDAVANT!