Over the years Villarreal have developed a rivalry with the small town of Elche. Just outside Alicante, Elche is part of the Valencian Community which makes this a Valencian derby. The teams hadn't met much until the last two years; remember Elche went up as champions when we were promoted back to the Primera, and then last year we faced them in the Copa del Rey as well as the league. Having only defeated them twice out of the 5 times we've played them, this makes them a threat.
We have a brilliant opportunity for us to move into 4th place, if Madrid can defeat Valencia at the Mestalla. The Champions League is still in the hearts of Villarreal fans, and with Vietto coming good and Musacchio almost ready to return to the lineup, it could be a hard-fought battle for that last CL spot.
Villarreal will be looking to carry on the fantastic form of 2014 with yet another victory. Beginning with our 4-0 hammering of Real Sociedad, the Submarine has won its last 5 games.
Worrying news about Cani leaving which we need to be careful of. Every time we have let a winger go we have regretted it. Musacchio is still out and is unlikely he will start. There is no evidence to suggest that Tottenham will renew their interest in him. Other than that it looks like we have a full squad back to training where I still hope we will keep Hernán Pérez. It will be difficult to offload him after a season of injury. I suspect he will be kept the whole season to see how he plays.
The team call for this match is:
- Keepers: Asenjo, Juan Carlos.
- Defenders: Gabriel, Jaume Costa, Víctor Ruiz, Mario, Rukavina, Dorado.
- Midfielders: Bruno, Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, Espinosa, Moi Gómez, Cheryshev.
- Strikers: Uche, Vietto, Giovani, Gerard.
Tomas Pina was suspended two matches for his red card against Depor, so expect Bruno and Trigueros in the pivote, Cheryshev on the left. Who will play on the right? Jonathan, probably, who has established himself there with brilliant effect.
Elche, on the other hand, has been struggling, losing out to Malaga in a tight 2-1 defeat in their last match (also at home). They lie in bottom place, and have won only one of their last 13 league matches, a 2-1 home victory (their only one so far) against Espanyol in early November. Even with a victory against Villarreal they could only rise to 18th.
Their top goal scorer Jonathas is on loan from Pescara, and if Elche want to keep him they’ll have to rise. He has proved an effective signing with 6 goals this season, practically carrying Elche (who have only 13 goals all year).
My prediction is a solid 2-0 with a goals from Gaspar and Uche