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Villarreal vs. Racing Santander: Jornada 35

Villarreal CF hosts struggling Racing Santander in jornada 35 of the Spanish second division. Both sides desperately need 3 points to achieve their diverse objectives: the hosts in reaching the top two, and the visitors in escaping the bottom four.

Carlos Bocanegra: from Rangers to Racing -- which is worse?
Carlos Bocanegra: from Rangers to Racing -- which is worse?

Five matches left at El Madrigal (we hope). At least thirteen points required. It starts this evening for Villarreal against second-from-bottom Racing Santander.

Villarreal's biggest concern: injuries. Today's 'out' list is long, including suspended left back Jaume Costa, who received his tenth yellow card of the season in Murcia. Javier Farinós and Hernán Pérez are out for the year, while Olof Mellberg, Jonathan Pereira, and Javier Aquino are recovering from knocks. Throw in the oft-injured Chechu Dorado, and the team physio has his hands full.

Marcelino García Toral's reshuffled squad for the match:

Keepers: J. Carlos, Aitor.
Defenders: Mario, Venta, J. Oriol, Musacchio, Íñiguez, Truyols.
Midfielders: Senna, Bruno, Canteros, Trigueros, Cani, Juanma, Moi.
Strikers: Uche, Perbet, Gerard.

Ring in the changes. Aitor Fernández replaces Diego Mariño as the backup goalkeeper -- hope it's not a big story. Welcome back to three long-lost defenders: Javi Venta(!), Pablo Íñiguez, and Joan Truyols. One of the latter two is expected to start at center back, unless Bruno Soriano slots in next to Musacchio. Finally, Marcos Senna returns from injury.

My expected XI: J. Carlos; Mario, Musacchio, Íñiguez, J. Oriol; Canteros, Bruno; Trigueros, Cani; Uche, Gerard.

Racing has struggled all season to score goals, managing just ten in seventeen away matches. Let's keep it that way. American international Carlos Bocanegra should feature in the Cantabrian side's starting XI, and keep an eye out for ex-Villarreal midfielder Marcos Gullón.

The match begins at 1 pm Eastern Time and airs on Marca TV. Expect streams. Endavant Villarreal!