Villarreal are full of optimism they can do well against Barcelona in the cup in midweek, but before that, there is the not-so-small matter of a home match against Granada. With Sevilla, Valencia and Malaga all playing away, a win in this match could move the Submarine within spitting distance of fourth place and that last Champions League spot.
Granada: The side I love to refer to as Udinese B was busy in the January market, bringing in Adrian Colunga from Brighton and Lass Bangoura from Rayo. Those two, together with El-Arabi and Jhon Cordoba, give Granada a reasonably decent attack on paper. The game, however, is played on the pitch, and there the rojiblancos have scored only 14 goals in 21 matches. But as I say, that could be a bit misleading.
Defensively they're not great, 33 goals allowed, and 23 of those have come on the road. When these two teams met early in the season, Villarreal dominated play with 60% of the possession and 14 shots, but couldn't score; the match ended in a 0-0 draw. Interestingly, whoscored had the top Villarreal player as Gabriel, and Granada's as Jason Murillo; neither will feature in this match.
Villarreal: Our first loss in almost three months wasn't necessarily unexpected, and the team played very well against Barcelona in many ways, but though we'd like to get revenge in midweek in the Copa, we have to focus on this match first. And given the Wednesday encounter with Barca, surely we will make some rotations here.
Tomas Pina didn't make the team call due to injury, nor did Adrian Marin, so the team is:
- Keepers: Asenjo and Juan Carlos.
- Defenders: Mario, Rukavina, Jaume Costa, Víctor Ruiz, Dorado, Musacchio.
- Midfielders: Bruno, Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, Campbell, Cheryshev y Moi Gómez.
- Strikers: Uche, Vietto, Gerard y Giovani.
It's anyone's guess as to the lineup Marcelino will use; I will predict Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Ruiz, Jaume Costa; Campbell, Bruno, Jona, Chery; Uche and Vietto.
Prediction: Last year Granada came here and pretty much rolled over; I'd be happy if that happened again, but to be honest I expect them to be a little more assertive. I think it will be closer than we'd like but I thiknk we will pick up the three points. Maybe 2-1 to Villarreal.
AND, COMMENTS FROM ROBIN (under the weather in the UK): Marcelino has been keen to avoid talking about the Copa del Rey semi-final tie against Barcelona, whether this is respect to Granada or just being wary is hard to tell. However it is likely that it will be our main focus in deciding the squad for this week.
Granada are a good side with their main talents on the wings. Despite the copa we need a victory here if we are to keep the pressure on Valencia and Sevilla. Valencia are playing Atletico in two weeks so Villarreal will need to get a running form if we are to continue to challenge for fourth place
Surprisingly after our encounter with Barcelona we have no major injury concerns for the game. New signing Eric Bailly is still away with Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations so Yellow fans will have to wait. As for the side itself it is likely we start with our second squad and save the stars for Barca
After bringing in new coach Abel Resino, Granada have been in impressive form after taking four points from his first two games in charge of the club. They are 18th position and brimming with confidence.
Granada will be without Jeison Murillo, Sulayman Marreh and Ruben Rochina through injury
My prediction is 2-0 with goals from Gerard and super sub Cheryshev