Villarreal have called up the following players for this match:
- Keepers: Barbosa and Areola.
- Defenders: Rukavina, Mario, Bailly, Musacchio, Jaume Costa and Bonera.
- Midfielders: Pina, Bruno, Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, Denis Suárez, Samu Castillejo and Nahuel.
- Strikers: Soldado, Leo Baptistao and Bakambu.
Daniele Bonera returns to the list, as does Jaume Costa, while Adrian Marin is dropped. So presumably Costa will play left back, Eric Bailly and Musacchio will be the centerbacks (Ruiz suspended), Mario RB. Midfielders are likely to be Pina and Bruno in the middle, Jonathan dos Santos and Denis Suarez on the wings, and Soldado and Bakambu up front.
We're going to have to get more creativity from somewhere--Denis Suarez and Bruno both had subpar outings against Betis, and Soldado and Bakambu were quiet since there was so little incisive play from midfield. Marcelino says we have to match Espanyol's intensity in this one.
Espanyol have called up Bardi, R. Duarte, Víctor Álvarez, Enzo Roco, Gerard Moreno, Salva Sevilla, Burgui, Abraham, P. Diop, Pau López, Ciani, Javi López, Fuentes, Jordán, Caicedo, Álvaro, Marco Asensio and Mamadou.
Caicedo has 5 goals, tied for their team lead with the suspended Hernán Pérez; Marco Asensio, on loan from Madrid, is their main creative player.
They're not bad at home (4-2-3); it's their 2-0-9 away record that has them mired in lower mid-table.
All-time records: We've fared reasonably well at Espanyol's ground, whichever it's been; in fact, our last loss here was back in 2007-08, a 3-0 loss noteworthy mostly for the fact it featured one of the five Villarreal appearances of Rio Mavuba. Our last visit here, November 2014, was a 1-1 draw, an early Mario Gaspar goal being canceled out by a late one from Diego Colotto.
Prediction: It will be tight, there will be very few goals, 1-0 to Villarreal. Endavant!!