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Real Sociedad-Villarreal PREVIEW

Villarreal travel to San Sebastian, where they have actually done pretty well over the years. Can we --gasp--score a goal away from home in the league for the first time in three months?

Start Trigueros, please, Marce.
Start Trigueros, please, Marce.
Maria José Segovia

It's hard to remember with all the international breaks, Europa league ties, and Copa del Rey matches, but does anyone remember the last time we scored in La Liga away from El Madrigal?

Turns out it was our 1-0 win against Malaga in late September, and that was actually credited as an own goal--you have to go back to the end of the Granada match on September 13th, when Samuel Garcia scored our third goal in injury time as I recall.

I've seen some discussion that this is partly a reflection of Marcelino's playing Pina and Bruno in the pivote, which does serve to provide some stability in the middle of the pitch and cut down counters at the expense of playing a passer who can feed the front two and the wings.

Be that as it may.   Real Sociedad.  They have won their last two home matches in the league (2-0 over Sevilla, 2-1 over Eibar) but overall they're mired in a lower mid-table position, having been largely unimpressive but reveling in the knowledge there are 5 or 6 teams worse than them out there.

The David Moyes era--which will largely be remembered for him sharing crisps with a fan as we defeated them in the Copa, I fear--is over, and Eusebio (not THAT Eusebio, but Eusebio Sacristan) is now in charge.  His last managerial gig before this was heading up Barcelona B, and he wasn't so good at that.

La Real look a good team on paper--Canales, Granero, Illaremendi, Xabi Prieto in midfield, Jonathas, Carlos Vela, and Agirretxe (12 goals already!!) up front.  But the team overall has only 17 goals, two less than us, and four of those came in a laugher at Levante.  Defense is adequate but not sterling--20 goals allowed.

Villarreal have had good success at Anoeta: 5-5-2 in the league.  Last year we drew 0-0 here; the season before we prevailed 2-1 on the last weekend of the season.  Our last loss here was in August 2010, which I will always remember because I had just joined Villarreal USA and that was the opening match of the season (we went on quite a winning streak after that, as I recall).

This one scares me a bit, because I keep looking at the La Real roster and thinking at some point they have to play up to their potential.  But, we tend to up our game against teams with some quality, too.  I'll channel the ebullient and ever-optimistic Mr. Stacey and go for not one, but two Villarreal goals, and a 2-1 away win.