Another midweek game to get the La Liga campaign done in time for the World Cup. Good to get the Barcelona match out of our system quickly and press on. It's been a good run since Garrido took the reins, and a Europa League spot still is in our control.
4th-place Mallorca is now 7 points clear, so the Champions League is a bridge too far this year. But remember that we were rock bottom after 7 rounds (what a trayectoria).
The remaining schedules for the 3 teams fighting for one European spot:
- Villarreal (6th, 52 points): @Almeria (13th), Valencia (3rd), @Zaragoza (15th)
- Getafe (7th, 51 points): Sporting (14th), Malaga (17th), @Atletico (10th)
- Athletic (8th, 50 points): Malaga (17th), @Real (2nd), Deportivo (9th)
Getafe took 4 points from Athletic, so they would win that tiebreaker. Villarreal split the season series with both teams, so goal difference would factor in: Villarreal currently is +1, Getafe +6, and Athletic -1.
Looking at the schedules, we must take at least 6 points. In that case, Getafe with 7+ or Athletic with 9 would beat us out. The Malaga matches will be tricky, as the Andalusians are tied with Tenerife for the final relegation spot and will be desperate. And if the title race still is on, Athletic at the Bernabeu should spell defeat. Will our old friends Atletico come through on the final matchday in the other Madrid derby? We shall see.
The squad for today's match (at 2 pm Eastern Time):
GKs: Diego López and Xavi Oliva.
Ds: Ángel, Godin, Mateo Musacchio, Kiko, Marcano and Javi Venta.
MFs: Marcos Senna, Bruno, Cani, Santi Cazorla, Ibagaza, Pires and David Fuster.
Fs: Nilmar, Llorente and Rossi.
As Kenez noted, Marcano and Kiko come in for Capdevila (suspended) and Gonzalo (flu). This will be the first match Capdevila has missed all season; Marcano is set to start.
This is the toughest of our 3 remaining matches, as we do not play well at the Juegos Mediterraneos. So I would be happy with a 1-1 result, but getting all 3 points would be a huge boost. Endavant Villarreal!