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Villarreal-Eibar PREVIEW

If ever there was a must-win match, this is surely one. After Malaga's surprise victory in the Camp Nou and Valencia grinding out another close away win, Villarreal need three points here to keep a firm hold on sixth place and a Europa League spot.

After Eibar's good start to the season, coach Gaiza Gaetano is beginning to feel the heat.
After Eibar's good start to the season, coach Gaiza Gaetano is beginning to feel the heat.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

After Villarreal’s Europa win over Red Bull Salzburg, the yellows will hoping there will be no more surprises as we host Eibar at home.  The midweek match was a cracker,  a fantastic performance playing attractive football which is always a pleasure  to watch.

I had thought for once we had no fresh injury worries going into this game, but Mario is left out of the squad for health reasons, so expect Rukavina to play at right back.  Victor Ruiz is dropped; might we see Eric Bailly starting?

After last weekend surprise defeat, Marcelino might reconsider rotating our squad again.  Starting without Cheryshev and top scorer Vietto proved to be a bad decision, although with the Europa match in midweek we can see why.   But winning in the league is getting more and more important.  We have to adopt a Madrid philosophy of playing our strongest 11 every match.

I would love to see Gerard play alongside Vietto.  Gio has been off form this season and Moreno has proved himself time and time again.

The squad is:

  • Asenjo and Juan Carlos.
  • Rukavina, Jaume Costa, Musacchio, Eric Bailly and Dorado.
  • Pina, Jonathan dos Santos, Trigueros, Sergio Marcos, Cheryshev, Campbell , Moi Gómez.
  • Vietto, Gerard Moreno, Uche and Giovani.


Surprisingly well free of the relegation zone during the first half of the season, Eibar are on their worst run of form so far this term.  Raul Albentosa left for Derby in the January transfer window, and they have missed him at the back.  They have lost their last four matches, but the Basque side are not to be underestimated as they lie 10th in the Primera Division table.
Italian forward Federico Piovaccari, who has five goals for them, is suspended after he was sent off last weekend.  That's a big loss, but Manu del Moral is cleared to play after fracturing his cheekbone.  He's on loan from Sevilla until the end of the season.

My prediction is a 2-0: ever the optimist!  Endavant Villarreal.