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Villarreal-Toledo PREVIEW

Can we just agree now that the current format of the Copa del Rey is the absolute worst?

After coming back from Asturias with a win and with thoughts of the Christmas break in their heads, Villarreal’s players and coaches have to concentrate on their last match of 2016. Yes, folks, it’s time for the home leg of our Copa del Rey tie against Toledo.

Having won the away leg in most un-Villarreal-like fashion 3-0 (we usually struggle to come home with a lead when we play lower division clubs in this competition), now we have a match in El Madrigal where the primary goal has to be avoiding injury as much as winning. Don’t expect us to play many of our regular first XI tomorrow.

Toledo are slipping away from first-place Albacete in their Segunda B group, and drew 1-1 with Atletic Club’s B team last time out. So, they may not be too concerned about this one, either.

Coach Escribá has said all the requisite things about the tie not being over, etc., and he’s right, but realistically, we ought to put this thing away by halftime.

Of course, the likelihood of actually being able to watch this match is pretty small. I’m planning on listening to Radio Vila-real tomorrow. Unfortunately Toledo’s defender Xiker Ozerinjauregi (Mendikoetxea) is injured, I guess. Javi Mata would have fun repeating that name quickly!

The Copa Brackets: So, if we win through tomorrow, we play the winner of Real Betis-Deportivo (Betis won the first leg 1-0 at home). And if we move on to the quarterfinals, we face the winner of Atleti-Sevilla. Oh yay.

Barcelona should stroll to a semifinal place; Real Madrid too, if they can get past Valencia in the next round. The other semifinal place probably gets fought over by Real Sociedad and Athletic Club.

Prediction: Leo Suarez and Rodri to start for us. Oh. That prediction. Villarreal 4-1. Then we can all go home, enjoy the holidays, and wait for Villarreal-Barcelona on January 8. ENDAVANT!