maddi has called the season to date "up and down," and the club's debut in the Europa League was no different. A generally poor showing away to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb led to a 2-0 defeat and recriminations as to Garrido's team selection.
But the club needs to put that in the rear-view mirror ahead of Sunday's derbi against Levante. Levante UD was formed before Valencia CF, lending it some sort of primacy in the Comunitat Valenciana, and the legendary Johan Cruyff played there. Our neighbors debuted in La Liga in 1964-65 and have played 5 top flight seasons, 3 in the past decade.
This Levante side will struggle to survive, despite Garrido's confidence, but they have a few decent players in Uruguayan goalkeeper Munúa, old hand Asier del Horno, and strikers Stuani (Uruguayan), Caicedo (Ecuadorean), and the physically imposing Rafa Jordá (Catalan). So far for Levante: two matches, two 4-1 defeats to Sevilla and away to Getafe. Expect goals aplenty, perhaps at the expense of our old friend Javi Venta.
The 18-man squad for tomorrow's match:
GKs: Diego López and Juan Carlos.
Ds: Ángel, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Marchena, Capdevila and Catalá.
MFs: Senna, Bruno, Cazorla, Cani, Borja Valero and Jefferson Montero.
Fs: Rossi, Nilmar, Altidore and Marco Ruben.
Nilmar and Ángel are back after a midweek break in Zagreb, while Catalá returns as cover for both wingbacks. He looks to be this season's Marcano; hopefully his play is better. Musacchio is available after taking a knock on Thursday in Zagreb; maybe that explains Dinamo's second goal. But Gonzalo certainly stated his case in that match.
Expect Garrido to stick with a 4-4-2, unusual on our travels in La Liga, and to put out the following strong starting XI:
Capdevila – Gonzalo – Marchena – Ángel López
Cazorla – Borja – Bruno – Cani
Rossi – Nilmar
Prediction: We're due for an upswing, so I'll go with another 1-4 to Villarreal. Montero finally gets on the scoresheet, along with another Rossi brace and a tally from Capdevila.