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Thread: Villarreal vs. Napoli

Bad Cavani. We liked you better last year--when you didn't play.
Bad Cavani. We liked you better last year--when you didn't play.

Life or death to one team (clearly prioritized above league play), a glorified training exercise to the other. Mega-bucks to one, a pittance to the other (unless you believe the reports out of Italy).

This is not what we expected of Villarreal versus Napoli on matchday 6 of the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League. But the Yellow Submarine has strayed off course all season, while the partenopei is on track for a spot in the last 16 of Europe's premier club football competition. Enhorabuena.

The big news for manager Juan Carlos Garrido pertains to his squad (and not his job, thankfully for him). Two players have returned after lengthy layoffs, while two midfielders have bowed out at the last minute.

Keepers: D. López, César.
Defenders: Ángel, Mario, Zapata, Musacchio, Gonzalo, Oriol, Marchena.
Midfielders: Bruno, Gullón, Senna, H. Pérez, Camuñas, de Guzmán.
Strikers: Joselu, Ruben, Nilmar.

Welcome back, Cristián Zapata and Javier Camuñas (and Carlos Marchena, former doghouse resident). The return of some squad depth, at long last. Must make B team manager José Molina happy as well.

But you guessed it: if two players return, then two must go on the shelf. That ignominy extends to midfielders Rubén Cani (just back from injury) and our mainstay Borja Valero. Both are expected to return for Sunday's must-win at home to Real Sociedad; we sure hope so.

On another note, I'm surprised the Neopolitans have returned a portion of their ticket allotment. Bad economic times, sure, but progression is not yet a done deal.

The match begins at 2:45 pm Eastern Time. Keep it here for our swan song in Europe in 2011-12 (and to see whether Manchester City crashes out). Endavant Villarreal!