No Diego Costa, Arda Turan or Gabi Fernandez. But the leaders of La Liga have plenty of depth to put out an eleven that will keep them leaders.
Villarreal will be without Musacchio, Oliver Torres, Uche, Juame Costa and Gio. I think Villarreal is affected much more than Atletico Madrid with their respective absentees. After a desperate win at Getafe, the Yellow Submarine gave up an early penalty against Elche and couldnt win another home match. At the end of the season I hope the management and coaching staff make note of the fact that Villarreal had almost no shut-outs at home. The good away form hides some disappointing draws (Malaga, Elche, Betis) and deflating losses (Sevilla, Getafe) and in the long-run if we want to challenge for the 4th CL spot we need to be able to win all our home games except vs. the top 2/3 teams.
Tactics & Personnel
Atletico press energetically and press for most of the match. A feature of their method is to clog up the middle of the pitch and push opponents to the wide areas when they attack. Once they force you to the wide areas press and force a bad pass/cross or force the ball out for a throw-in one way or the other.
In attack they deploy what is primarily a counterattacking style. Catch opponents in possession and force favorable matchups. With excellent goalscorers like Diego Costa, David Villa and Raul Garcia and assist providers like Koké and Arda, they are tough team to deal with.
Villarreal might get slight relief with the non-availability of Gabi, Costa and Arda but they will be ably replaced by Tiago/Mario, Villa/Raul Garcia and Diego Ribas.
In this match-up at El Madrigal Villarreal dominated possession and Atletico probably had their worst in terms of possession (although the game was decided by an own goal at each end). I dont think that match has a lot bearing on this one but Villarreal might try to employ similar tactics of keeping the ball and staying compact.
Going oustide and cutting inside
One of the keys to do well against a favourite is to take what the opponent gives you in terms of space and opportunities. Staying compact and error-free is very important to even have a hope of getting a result. Villarreal was able to do it last time. Gabriel had a great night defending Diego Costa and frustrating him in the process.
An interesting stat (could be purely incidental) is that Atletico score a lot of goals around the mid point of the 2nd half. Due to their deep run in the Champions League, they might try to get the maximum by doing as little work as possible. Which means, the longer Villarreal stays level (or ahead) the better the chances of nicking a goal or getting a good result.
Squads and Line-ups
Villarreal18 : Juan Carlos y Asenjo, Mario, Blázquez (dorsal 37), Jokic, Pantic, Gabriel y Diego Jiménez (38), Bruno, Trigueros, Pina, Cani, Moi Gómez, Joan Román y Aquino, Jonathan Pereira, Perbet y Nahuel.
Atletico 18 : Courtois, Aranzubia, Godín, Filipe, Alderweiredl, JuanFran, Insua, Miranda, Mario, Tiago, Koke,
RaúlGarcía, Cristian Rodríguez, Sosa, Diego Ribas, Andrían, Villa and Samuel Saiz
Villarreal likely XI 4-4-2: Asenjo; Jokic-Gabriel-Pantic-Mario ; Cani-Bruno-Pina-Moi ; Perbet-Jony
Atletico likely XI 4-4-2 : Courtois; Felipe Luiz-Miranda-Godín-Juanfran; Diego-Tiago-Suarez-Koke; Raul Garcia-David Villa
While this is not a "must-win" for our European aspirations, it is a big challenge to test ourselves against one of the best in Europe at the moment.
Good luck to the Submarine and to all the groguets who have traveled to watch the game at Vicente Calderon. I hope they have a safe and happy trip back home.