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Villarreal-Zurich: Europa League Preview

Villarreal host Zurich tomorrow, knowing a win would ensure they are top of the group after three matches. But the injuries in defense are a worry.

Gabriel--likely to be busy against Zurich
Gabriel--likely to be busy against Zurich
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Here's the 18 players called for the match against Zurich:

Asenjo y Juan Carlos.

Mario, Jaume Costa, Adrián Marín, Gabriel and Víctor Ruiz.

Bruno, Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, Pina, Espinosa, Moi Gómez, Cani and Cheryshev.

Giovani, Gerard and Vietto.

Our opponents: FC Zurich are leading the Swiss league at the moment, coming off a big 3-1 win in the Zurich derby against Grasshoppers.  In the Europa League, they lost 3-2 at Apollon Limasol, but had a creditable home draw against Gladbach, 1-1.  They are built for attack, generally playing three at the back.  They have some good attacking midfielders (19 year-old Francisco Rodriguez, and veterans Davide Chiumiento and Yassine Chikhaoui among them) and Tunisian Amine Chermiti and Camerounian Franck Etoundi are both experienced strikers.

They have some injury worries, too, with a couple of their defenders (Kecojevic and Koch) reportedly out.

Villarreal:  With Musacchio, Jokic, Dorado and Rukavina out due to injury, the back four more-or-less picks itself; I figure Jaume Costa will be the odd man out.

In midfield, I'm going for Pina, Bruno, Espinosa and Cheryshev, and Vietto and Gerard up front.  And Juan Carlos in goal, maybe.

We obviously would like to win this match and open up a lead in the group, but we have a tough match at Sevilla on Sunday as well.  This game ought to be fairly wide open, I would think; Zurich, especially with their injuries, probably can't count on parking the bus and keeping things too tight, and we figure to have an attacking lineup ourselves.

I'm going for a 2-1 Villarreal win, largely on the basis of the respective strength of the two leagues, but I think Zurich are liable to be a tougher match in El Madrigal than Apollon was for sure.  (BTW, if we do win this, we set some sort of record for consecutive home wins in the Europa League, I believe).

The match is just after noon Pacific time in the US (3:05 on the east coast); there should be streams available in the usual places but no TV broadcast directed at the USA that I'm aware of.

Endavant Villarreal!!!