Real Zaragoza S.A.D. may be my least-favorite team in La Liga. It's not that we spent through the nose for the enigmatic Cani. Nor is it the presence of mercenary midfielder Edmilson (thanks for an unforgettable six appearances). No, the reason I relished Zaragoza's plummet from Europe to relegation in 2007-08 is their fans.
The maños, based in historic Aragón, have a contingent of supporters that remain in the age of Columbus. Perhaps the ugliest incident in La Liga history occurred in 2006, when Barca's Samuel Eto'o was driven to tears by the Romareda crowd. A few months earlier, their own goalie was the object of racial abuse, and Spanish football was thrust into the international limelight. Thankfully, Spain is now remembered for capturing World Cup 2010, but Zaragoza and its boorish fans have left an indelible black mark on La Liga.
Keepers: Diego López & Juan Carlos.
Defenders: Ángel, Marchena, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Catalá & Joan Oriol.
Midfielders: Bruno, Senna, Matilla, Cazorla, Cani & Jefferson Montero.
Strikers: Rossi, Nilmar, Altidore & Marco Ruben.
Starters Borja (suspension) and Capdevila (injury) are unavailable, so Garrido must vary from the typical XI. Expect wingback Joan Oriol to make his Primera debut, while ex-Zaragoza man Cani should play on the wing.
Ángel – Musacchio – Marchena – Oriol
Cani – Senna – Bruno – Cazorla
Rossi – Nilmar
Prediction: Villarreal has not fared well at La Romareda, with only 1 win in 10 visits. But there's no better chance to get on track than against La Liga's colista. We owned "El Vasco" when he managed Atlético, so let's hope the good vibes continue. I'll say 1-2 to Villarreal, with Nilmar on target. Endavant Villarreal!