Villarreal host Osmanlispor (the former Ankaraspor) at a very yellow El Madrigal, its exterior facelift nearly completed.
The Yellow Submarine has had an excellent record at home in the Europa League group stage: their only loss came in 2009 in the last group match to Red Bull Salzburg, and only Fiorentina (2007) and That German Team Borussia M. (2014) were able to pick up a point in El Madrigal.
Zurich host Steaua Bucharest in the other group match, so you’d think this round would be the opportunity for the two clubs playing at home in this round, already the two top in the standings, to forge ahead. It might not be that simple, though.
Osmanlispor showed in Turkey they have some players to be reckoned with, especially Raul Rusescu who scored both their goals. Guven’s red card turned the match around, as until then Villarreal hadn’t done much. But Villarreal have to be the favorites, as the Turks have not done well on the road this season, including a loss in Zurich and a loss in the Turkish league last weekend to Gaziantepspor.
Villarreal: I have not seen a squad list, but Fran Escribá says Alexandre Pato is available. In Ankara we played some sort of 4-3-3 formation, I guess; I’d expect us to go more 4-4-2 here. I suspect we will put out a stronger lineup than last time, maybe with one or both of Ruiz or Musacchio in the back.
Osmanlispor: I saw a tweet that said one of their goalkeepers might be unavailable due to injury—not sure which one, and Guven is suspended for his red card last time, but that is all I have seen. The fellow Guven replaced due to injury against us, Lawal, hasn’t played since, so is presumably unavailable as well.
Players to watch? Their N’Diaye (Papa Alioune N’Diaye) has either assisted or scored their last four goals; Pierre Webó (ex-Mallorca) and the aforementioned Rusescu would be the others.
Prediction: I’m thinking Villarreal 2-0, or 3-1.