After getting my days of the week mixed up, I'll try to redeem myself with a quick preview here. Not much to say, really--Villarreal really have nothing to play for except I guess trying to get three wins in a row and end on 63 points, and have a host of injuries and suspensions, while Athletic Club need a win to finish in seventh ahead of Malaga, should they win today.
Villarreal: Yesterday's team sheet said it all. We have only one of our four strikers available--Gerard Moreno--so could we see Joel Campbell as a second striker again? Or will Marcelino decide to play some of the B teamers he's called up to make up the eighteen?
Athletic Bilbao: Los leones need a win here to be sure of qualifying for Europe. They can get there if Malaga drop points at home to Sevilla (which, I have to admit, seems likely given Sevilla could move up to fourth with a win) and they can also get there if they win the Copa del Rey against Barcelona next Saturday. Maybe not something they want to count on.
The Basque side entred a horrible start to the season, but since early February have played well, with a record of 8-4-2 in La Liga and no losses in their last five. However, home draws against Real Sociedad and Deportivo in that period really cost them.
Iker Muniain is of course unavailable with a knee injury, but pretty much everyone else is back, and they are coming off an astonishing 3-2 win over Elche last week--down two goals, Athletic scored in the 80th and 87th minutes to draw even and Iñaki Williams grabbed the winner in injury time.
It's been another fine if combative season for Aritz Aduriz, 16 goals and 12 yellow cards. He usually scores against us, seems to me.
Prediction: Athletic Club 2-1 Villarreal. Too many injuries and too little motivation for the Submarine today.
Update: Our team is Juan Carlos; Rukavina, Dorado, V.Ruiz, Jokic; Bruno, Trigueros, Mario, J. Costa; Campbell and Gerard.
Six defenders among the 10 outfield players! Join us here for commentary.....