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Match Preview/Result: Villarreal 1-0 Sporting Gijon

Well, first of all, if you haven't already made plans, make sure you get to the Babylon Futbol Cafe before 2pm tomorrow to catch the match with a lot of other Villarreal supporters!

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But whether you make it there or not, this is a huge match for Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine suddenly finds itself with a huge boost of confidence and a lot of momentum, a mere five (that's cinco, viis, ????, p?t, lima, ????, tano, senk, or, just 5) points out of a Champions League spot. Who could have predicted that a few short weeks ago? Obviously, it hasn't all been Villarreal's doing - a number of clubs have fallen over themselves to help Villarreal pull close - but that doesn't matter all that much. The Champions League is the Champions League, even if you fall assbackwards into it. Cani has pointed out, though, sometimes it isn't best to count your chickens before they hatch.

Tomorrow they return home feeling pretty good about things, after only their second away win all season. They have won their last four in El Madrigal by a combined score of 8-1, showing that they really are clicking on all cylinders when they are playing in front of the home faithful.

Tomorrow's opponent will not be an easy draw for Villarreal. They too sit mid-table, and have spent much of this season in the top 10. They are coming off a win against Depor, and two draws, one against Espanyol, and one against Tenerife.

Early this season, Sporting handled Villarreal 1-0 at El Molinon. That was their first win ever against Villarreal in the first division. Of course, they haven't played all that much. Sporting, carrying much more history on its side than the Yellow Submarine, found itself crashing out of the Primera in 1998, right as Villarreal was earning its first promotion to the top flight. Although Villarreal fell back to the Segunda for a brief period, they managed to find their way back years before Sporting did. Then when Sporting was finally promoted at the end of the 2007-2008 season, Villarreal welcomed them back by beating them twice.

Villarreal may face a mandatory change in game plan for this match. Over the last couple of weeks, they have trotted out a 4-3-3, and used effectively to a total 5-0 scoreline. But Nilmar has not been 100 percent this week after straining a hamstring, and his availability for tomorrow's match is doubtful. He did make the squad, though.

Add to that the dubiously-upheld yellow against the Canary, and our defense too, which had been playing so well, sees a big loss. Expect Javi Venta to take Angel's place.

The squad:

Keepers: Diego López and Oliva.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Capdevila, Gonzalo, Godin, Marcano and Musacchio.
Midfielders: Senna, Bruno, Cani, Pires, Fuster, Cazorla and Ibagaza.
Forwards: Llorente, Rossi and Nilmar.

We can and must win the match tomorrow. So come out and lend some moral support at Babylon Futbol Cafe! In order to inspire you to show up, here are a couple of pics from previous meetups:

Tomorrow there should be at least 12 of us there. So show up! ENDAVANT!