A short preview today, as I am on mini-vacation visiting family.
Turmoil is raging at Villarreal C.F. Players are exiting, losses are piling up, and in general the team seems to be in a bit of emotional freefall. I think no one is exactly sure as to what to expect from the club next.
The one thing you have to say that is looking up is that our B team is thriving, having won 2-4 at Salamanca today, and now sits an amazing 4th in Segunda A, a mere ONE point away from the promotion spots. You remember that conversation earlier this year about what would happen if Villarreal A got relegated and Villarreal B reached promotion...? Don't worry, I am sure we won't drop off that far, but there is nothing wrong with the B team finishing in the promotion spots!
The match against Zaragoza should give the club an opportunity to briefly right the sub before starting the second half of the season. Real Zaragoza, a club that until two years ago were a team to be feared by most in La Liga, looks to be heading back down in its first season after regaining the Primera. None of this bothers me, as the Ayala scandal still sits heavy with me, but it is surprising that they have struggled this much. They started off with a touch of promise of at least staying up, but they have not been able to win in nine matches, a streak that has included away drubbings of 6-0 (Madrid), 4-1 (Mallorca), and 3-1 (Valencia).
Villarreal have been shedding players left and right, with Fuentes and Pereira definitely out this winter, and Eguren apparently on his way to Italy (notice he didn't make today's squad). With rumors of Pires heading to Olympique de Marseille, you have to begin to wonder where we are going to call our starting eleven from in the not-too-distant future. The way things are going with the B-team, I am maintaining my stance that very soon, the A team is going to look like the B team of today in terms of player personnel. Of course, I say that and this squad is all A-teamers.... Today's squad:
Keepers: Diego López and Xavi Oliva.
Defenders: Ángel, Godin, Gonzalo, Marcano and Capdevila.
Midfielders: Bruno, Ibagaza, Pires, Cani, Escudero, Santi Cazorla, Marcos Senna and David Fuster.
Forwards: Joseba Llorente, Nilmar and Rossi
Hopefully we can see a bit of Pires. He was the force that began to pull us back from the brink earlier in the season, and as it looks like we could be gaining momentum back in a negative direction, he could be just the tonic we need. Diego Lopez is recovering from the flu, but they expect him to be healthy enough to go.
There will be a moment of silence before the match for those who have been struck by the Haiti tragedy. And on a completely unrelated note, if you would like some timely and important reading, pick up Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains. It is good stuff.
We need this win, desparately. I believe we can do it. ENDAVANT!