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Villarreal-Eibar PREVIEW

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Playing at Eibar's small Iparua ground is not always easy.

David Ramos/Getty Images

The little Basque team that could, Eibar, host Villarreal.  They have twelve points from nine matches in the Primera so far, and except for a surprising loss to Osasuna in their last home match, have done well at home (wins over Real Sociedad, score draw with Sevilla, win over Valencia).

Eibar play a 4-2-3-1 with Sergi Enrich (three goals) up top, and Bebe, Pedro Léon, and Fran Rico as the three.  That's a decent (and experienced) group.  The problem the last couple of matches has been defense--Espanyol and Osasuna each put three past them.  The Espanyol match was especially disappointing since they were ahead 3-0 on the road at HT but let it get away.

Ex-Villarreal B defender Florian Lejeune has been a regular center back along with Ivan Ramis (remember him from Mallorca years ago)?.

Villarreal enter this match in pretty good physical shape; Pato is out with the mumps still but Denis Cheryshev returns from injury, though I don't expect to see him starting.

All-time record: Villarreal have two wins and two draws (one win, one draw at Iparua) in the Primera.  The two teams met in the 1990's on a regular basis in the Segunda, and Villarreal had much less success then (0-2-5, for what it's worth).

Prediction:  Villarreal won this fixture last year 2-1, so I'll go for that again.  Endavant!!