Villarreal travel to La Coruña to take on Deportivo in a key match Sunday. Depor have been one of the surprises of La Liga thus far, currently lying sixth on 27 points, even with Athletic Club. Villarreal are six points ahead, in fourth place, and between the two, Celta Vigo looks to be undergoing a bit of a difficult time at the moment, having sold their captain to Atletico Madrid and Nolito rumored to be leaving for Barcelona.
For Villarreal, this match is an opportunity to move further ahead in fourth place, but it is also a chance for the Submarine to take advantage of their decreasing injury list. Our defense hasn't allowed a goal in the league in three and a half matches, but our offense continues to sputter. We notched three goals in three of our first four matches in the league this season; we haven't since.
Our squad is:
- Keepers: Barbosa and Areola.
- Defenders: Rukavina, Mario, Víctor Ruiz, Bailly, Musacchio and Adrián Marín.
- Midfielders: Pina, Bruno, Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, Nahuel, Denis Suárez and Samu García.
- Strikers: Soldado, Leo Baptistao y Bakambu.
Jokic and Samuel Castillejo are left out, while Jaume Costa, Adrián and Bonera are injured.
Depor have relied on Lucas Perez for 12 of their 25 goals this season; Fede Cartabia and Alex Bergantiños are excellent midfielders, and ex-Elche men Fajr and Mosquera are decent too. The back line has been strong, with Lux in goal having some fine matches and Alejandro Arribas and Sidnei heading up a good back line. They'll play a 4-2-3-1 with Perez the lone striker.
One player we won't see is Cani; the ex-Villarreal midfielder isn't seeing much playing time in Depor and it's rumored he may leave for an MLS club before long. He's 34 now, and his lack of playing time the last year and a half hasn't helped him return to form.
All-time record: We're 3-3-7 at the Riazor, though we've only played there once in the last four years, a 1-1 draw in the next-to-last round of the league last season, about which I remember nothing at all! Our biggest win here was 2-0 (achieved twice) and our biggest loss a 3-0 drubbing in February 2009.
Prediction: Channeling our optimistic Robin again, I am going to say 1-0 to Villarreal. I just don't see many goals in this one, to be honest, so it may turn on a free kick, a critical error, a moment of inspiration....whatever. Maybe another Bruno golazo?