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New-look Villarreal defeat Sabadell, 3-0

Marcelino's Villarreal squad makes its home debut against Sabadell. A lot of new faces in the squad this week.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Villarreal host Sabadell at El Madrigal tomorrow (3PM EST). Esport 3 is apparently bringing the game in Catalonia, so perhaps there will be a stream, though it doesn't sound terribly promising.

Our opponents: Sabadell are currently seventh in the table (above us),and are coming off a fine 4-1 hme win against Girona. This is a streaky club--they ran off five wins in a row in September, including a Copa win, but then went six games without a victory. But they have done well of late, losing to Elche 3-2 away (becoming the first team since August to score two goals against the illicitanos), and defeating Alcorcon and Girona at their home field--or potato patch, as we found when we played there in August!.

In that game Villarreal should have scored multiple times, but goalkeeper Nauzet denied us time and time again to preserve a 0-0 draw for the Catalans. Early in the season it was Sabadell's Mexican connection, Ulises Davila and Anibal Zurdo, who were pumping in the goals, but neither has scored in two months. Look out for them in this game, though, because leading scorer Manuel Lanzarote (10 goals, including 8 in the last 10 games) picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Girona so is suspended for this match.

Villarreal: In the aftermath of the RM Castilla debacle, it's hard to know who will take the pitch and what the mentality of this team will be. I'd like to think we'll find a way to get three points, but clearly Marcelino has decided what many of us have suspected--this team is just nowhere near as good as everyone expected it to be. We can expect new boys Juanma and Dorado to make the team before long (they just arrived and had their first practice yesterday) and we are still scouring around for strikers.

The big news in this team list is the absence of Cavenaghi, who appears on his way out. Word was Pandiani was going to be leaving, too, but he is included. Maybe he can come on late and get one of those 10 to 15 goals he was confidently predicting back in August. And, with Bruno suspended, it's interesting to see Canteros in the mix (another player who has been rumored to be leaving).

It's an odd group. If Jony and Gerard are our two strikers again (surely they must be, as Pandiani can't go more than 20-25 minutes at best in my opinion), at least they have spent a week training together. We do get Musacchio back, so presumably he and Mellberg, Joan Oriol and....(Venta? please, no!!) will be the back four. In the middle? Your guess is as good as mine.

Keepers: Juan Carlos and Mariño.
Defenders: Javi Venta, Musacchio, Mario, Mellberg, Joan Oriol, Pablo Íñiguez.
Midfielders: Marcos Senna, Cani, Farinós, Trigueros, Jaume Costa, Moi Gómez, Canteros.
Strikers: Pandiani, Jonathan Pereira, Gerard Moreno.

It will be interesting to see what the atmosphere in El Madrigal is like. Marcelino is trying to change a lot with this team--their work ethic and mental approach as well as the players themselves--and there seems to be admission (at least if you read EPM it's hinted at) that many of the decisions taken this summer weren't very good. The loss of Hernán to injury continues to be a problem, but of course the bigger problem is our inability to score goals, ore really even put quality shots on net.

I didn't expect Castilla to score five against us, but my key to the match is really the same as it was last week. On recent form, we can expect Sabadell to score at least once, as we have given up goals in 8 of our last 11 games. Can we find the net more than once? Since the beginning of October, we've done so only three times (and interestingly, we shut out our opponents each time).

Evey game, especially every home game, is a must-win for us. Let's get it done! Endavant!