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Preview: Málaga vs. Villarreal

A return home for the Samus: García and Castillejo. Villarreal goes in search of another Andalusian away win, this time in Málaga against the struggling boquerones. But injuries to strikers Cedric Bakambu and Roberto Soldado threaten to derail the Yellow Submarine's excellent start to the 2015-16 La Liga campaign.

Samuel García: time to step it up.
Samuel García: time to step it up.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Off a resounding home victory over Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal travels south for a midweek encounter in Málaga in jornada 5 of the 2015-16 La Liga campaign. But injuries have reared their ugly head to test the Yellow Submarine's newfound squad depth.

In the physical match with los leones, Cédric Bakambu left after only a quarter of an hour -- he suffered an ankle sprain and may miss through the next international break. And Roberto Soldado departed at halftime with a muscle strain. Both strikers did not travel with the Villarreal squad, along with defensive stalwart Víctor Ruiz (presumably to rest ahead of Atlético Madrid's visit to El Madrigal).

So the Samus will have a shot to start at La Rosaleda, and the "second-choice" strike pairing of Adrián López and Leo Baptistao will get another opportunity. Pablo Íñiguez is in the squad and will likely start at center back, while Daniele Bonera continues in exile after a poor showing in Vienna. So eight midfielders make Marcelino García Toral's eighteen-man squad.

Here's how I think they'll line up: Areola; Mario, Íñiguez, Bailly, Costa; Trigueros, Bruno; Samuel, Samu; Adrián, Leo.

Málaga has yet to score in four matches and will likely be without main threat Amrabat, but watch for Duda on set pieces. Roque Santa Cruz is no longer a world-beater, but his physicality could be a test for our young "second-choice" center back pairing. And the boquerones continue to be stingy -- Javi Gracia's bunch have only conceded twice, and both goals away from La Rosaleda.

The match begins at 4 pm Eastern Time and overlaps with Real Madrid's visit to Nuevo San Mamés, so TV options may be limited. The Spanish-language BeIN channel will air the match on tape delay at 6 pm Eastern Time. Endavant Villarreal!