Big match at Mestalla. The Copa del Rey has been a horror show for Villarreal CF in years past, but it remains the easiest route to the club's first major trophy. A local derbi between Champions League aspirants, Villarreal-Valencia is the tie of the round.
This is the fourth time that the top two teams in Liga Justa have met in the Copa, with a 2-1 edge to Valencia. Time to level the scores and start off this decade on the right note. Good to hear that Garrido is playing to win (read: we will utilize a 4-4-2).
To stoke the rivalry further, Valencia manager Unai Emery has labeled Villarreal as the nouveau riche and argued that Valencia has the history and supporters. Those are fighting words, even if true today. And interesting timing when Villarreal just announced another net surplus. How's that new stadium coming, Unai?
Garrido's 18-man squad is the same which defeated Mallorca on Saturday:
Keepers: Diego López & Juan Carlos.
Defenders: Ángel, Capdevila, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Catalá & Mario.
Midfielders: Senna, Bruno, Borja Valero, Cani, Cazorla & Jefferson Montero.
Strikers: Rossi, Nilmar, Marco Ruben & Altidore.
Marchena and Oriol are out with injury (rest up over the holidays, boys), while Cristóbal, Matilla, and Oliva have been overlooked (again) by the manager.
I expect a few changes to the typical XI:
Mario – Musacchio – Gonzalo – Capdevila
Cani – Senna – Bruno – Cazorla
Rossi – Ruben
Prediction: This will be a fierce battle, with both sides looking to establish regional supremacy. And there's no love lost between the clubs' management, not to mention the Garrido/Emery handshake spat. 2-2 at full time, with Rossi's record-breaking 60th goal in the books for time immemorial. Endavant Villarreal!