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Real Sociedad-Villarreal Copa del Rey PREVIEW

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Villarreal take a 1-0 lead into the Anoeta. Key to the match is likely to be...can Villarreal score an away goal? if so, La Real would need three to advance.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

It's all finely poised after the first match at El Madrigal.  La Real were pretty poor that day, but the Submarine couldn't score more than one goal, so they take a narrow lead into the second leg.

Antonio Rukavina and Marcelino have both said we are not going to try to limply close up shop and hope for a 0-0 draw, but we will be looking for a precious away goal.  If we can get that, we have to figure it's unlikely La Real can score three times.

Villarreal come into this match having drawn their last two league matches, 2-2 and 1-1 respectively.  Not exactly the start we were hoping for as we began an important January, though I suspect we may not be too fussed at at least drawing at Malaga.

Real Sociedad are away from the relegation zone courtesy of their victory over Barcelona, but a 1-1 draw at Granada wasn't an exciting result on the weekend either, with their goal coming from a Carlos Vela penalty.  Villarreal are still competing on three fronts--Europe and the top six in the league, as well as the Copa; La Real have only the cup to focus on.  So I suspect we may see a stronger lineup from them in this leg.

Villarreal has announced their squad for the match, and it has a few changes from what we've seen earlier.  Adrián Marin is dropped due to injury, but Mateo Musacchio returns to the squad for the first time since late September, and Marcelino has already said he will start tomorrow.

With Cani and Espinosa having departed on loan, Nahuel Leiva has a place in the side, too.

Predicted XI: Asenjo; Rukavina, Musacchio, Ruiz, Jaume Costa; J dos Santos, Pina, Bruno, Nahuel; Vietto and Gerard.

It's certainly possible Cheryshev starts instead of Nahuel, and maybe Gio for Vietto, but we'll see.