We all know the stakes. Six (or four) points from promotion; two matches left. It would be nice to be in Elche's shoes, but Villarreal has all to play for. And everything in its control.
First up: a tricky away match at the Mini Estadi against Barcelona B. Any filial is a tough out, and particularly one with the talent of the baby blaugranes. They score goals like water, but also have a propensity to concede in bunches.
Villarreal will not be alone: 10,000 fans are making the lengthy trip up the coast. 173 buses, some private vehicles, and a few local supporters. Unbelievable. #BarcelonaGrogueta
The first leg was a 1-3 defeat at El Madrigal: only Elche has also won there. Barca B's backup keeper Masip stood on his head, and the submarino strikers could not profit from countless one-on-ones. Let's call it a fluke.
Rubén Uria's squad for the match (Marcelino García Toral is suspended for two matches):
Keepers: Juan Carlos, Mariño.
Defenders: Mario, Javi Venta (!), Oriol, Costa, Mellberg, Íñiguez, Musacchio.
Midfielders: Bruno, Trigueros, Senna, Cani, Moi.
Strikers: Uche, Perbet, Gerard, Jony.
Of the available bodies, only Juanma and Truyols miss out. Dorado, Farinós, and Hernán continue to recover from their various injuries.
Javier Aquino is on Mexican national team duty and played a whopping six minutes in El Tri's 2-2 draw with Nigeria at Reliant Stadium in Houston. At least the Super Eagles did not call up Ikechukwu Uche for the Confederations Cup in Brazil later this month. Villarreal will likely lose Diego Mariño, Pablo Íñiguez, and Moi Gómez to Spanish youth team duty for next week's final against Almería, but all three are available against the baby blaugranes.
Moi or Jony Pereira is the obvious choice to replace Aquino in left midfield, assuming that Uria keeps the same shape. Manu Trigueros should replace the suspended Héctor Canteros - thankfully only for one match - in central midfield. A fast lineup against a fast team.
The match begins at 12 noon Eastern Time (unified start time). Also keep an eye on Almería-Girona, but the focus is on the Mini Estadi. Expect streams from TVG (Galicia) and Esport3 (Cataluña). A por todas Villarreal!