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Thread: Villarreal vs. Athletic

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I win at soccer: Diego López. Except last week.
I win at soccer: Diego López. Except last week.

Villarreal returns to the lovely 12 noon time slot today. Our opponent: Marcelo Bielsa's towering and powerful Athletic Bilbao. Welcome back, Cristián Zapata.

The visitors were level on points with the final Champions League spot coming into the round. But 10th-placed Osasuna was only 2 points behind. Nothing has been decided after nearly two-thirds of the season.

As for our heroes, they sit in a very uncomfortable 17th place. Racing Santander drew Sporting yesterday, so both of our pursuers did not gain much ground. But incredibly, 4th-placed Espanyol started the round only 7 points ahead. So a few well-timed results can change the entire league's outlook.

Lineups:

Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Angel, Gonzalo, Zapata, Oriol; Bruno, Senna, Borja Valero, Cani; Martinuccio, M Ruben

Athletic: Iraizoz; Iraola, Javi Martinez, San Jose, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, Herrera, Iñigo Perez; David Lopez, Toquero, Susaeta

Nilmar on our bench, Llorente on theirs.

Quick squad news: Nilmar returns, while Gonzalo Castellani, Mario Gaspar, and Wakaso Mubarak are omitted. Interesting that Jonathan de Guzmán keeps his place at the expense of two players who featured in last week's debacle against Mallorca. Or maybe that explains it.

The match begins at 6 am Eastern Time. Expect streams from whoever is awake in Asia. Endavant Villarreal! #VILATH