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Copa del Rey Preview: Athletic Club--Villarreal

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A noon kickoff Spanish time tomorrow.

Athletic Club fans at the Copa del Rey final last year
Athletic Club fans at the Copa del Rey final last year
David Ramos/Getty Images

Villarreal have named their squad for the Copa match tomorrow, and Manu Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos, and Roberto Soldado are not in it, being rested for the home match in the league on the weekend.  Our squad is:

  • Keepers: Barbosa and Areola.
  • Defenders: Rukavina, Mario, Bailly, Víctor Ruiz, Musacchio, Pablo Íñiguez and Adrián Marín.
  • Midfielders: Pina, Bruno, Nahuel, Denis Suárez, Samu Castillejo, Samu García and Rodri.
  • Strikers: Leo Baptistao y Bakambu.

The Basques have some selection issues to contend with: they've named 20 players but will have to cut it to 18 tomorrow.  Aduriz is in their squad but has a thigh strain so may not play; Elustondo and Boveda are both out.  Their 20 players are:  Iraizoz, Laporte, Eraso, San José, Beñat, Iturraspe, Kike Sola, De Marcos, Iago Herrerín, Susaeta, Williams, X.Etxeita, Mikel Rico, Gurpegi, Muniain, Aduriz, Raúl García, Balenziaga, Sabin Merino, I.Lekue.

Both coaches have said their priority is the league so resting players, especially those who have been carrying injury, is important.  This will probably be another of these two-legged ties where, more than usual,  what happens in the first leg will largely dictate the approach to the second leg.  I doubt Villarreal will be looking for miracles to progress in El Madrigal if the first leg is anything like our last visit to San Mames (a 4-0 Athletic Club win in the last match of last season, where it seemed our players were thinking more of their upcoming visit to Australia than anything else).

Key for Villarreal will to get at least one away goal, I'd think, and if that can translate into a draw or even a win, so much the better.  A draw would suit me fine, as we generally play pretty well against Los Leones at El Madrigal.

The match will be shown on one of the beinsport channels, so presumably will be streamed.  At 3AM California time, I am not expecting to catch this one, but Harry and Sid will take care of the gamethread.  Endavant Villarreal!!