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Villarreal CF-UD Las Palmas PREVIEW

Villarreal welcome the Canary Island side to El Madrigal for a Primera match for the first time in fifteen years.

Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Villarreal have chosen the same squad as against Celta.  No Musacchio, no Jaume Costa.

There the similarities probably end, because Marcelino will set up his side differently at home against a team struggling in the Primera than he did against Celta.  I'm thinking maybe Soldado and Adrian Lopez will start together, though it could be Baptistao with Adrian.  Soldado has played a lot this season, and Marcelino seems to be wanting to rest him with the Europa league matches coming up.  Bruno Soriano will certainly start, maybe Samuel Castillejo as well.

Las Palmas have this squad:

Javi Varas, Raúl Lizoain, David Simón, David García, Mauricio Lemos, Javi Garrido, Pedro Bigas, Jonathan Viera, Tana, Montoro, Nabil El Zhar, Willian José, Sergio Araujo, Ángel López, Valerón, Momo, Nili y Carlos (juvenil).

Aythami and Dani Castellano miss out; Nauzet Aleman, Roque Mesa, and Villarreal fan fave Wakaso Mubarak (injured) won't be here either.  They do have all their main goal scorers though (Willian José and Jonathan Viera lead them with six).

As you might expect given their increased travel relative to the mainland sides, Las Palmas are pretty good at home (6-3-5) but fairly dreadful on the road (1-3-9, 12 goals scored, 27 allowed).  Their only league road win was at Eibar last time out, fairly strange since they also won there in the Copa del Rey.

The islanders are in a group of teams sitting just above the drop zone (Espanyol, 28; Las Palmas, 27; Getafe and Rayo, 26; Granada also has 26 and is third form bottom).  They have home matches against Espanyol and Sporting in April sandwiched around away days at Betis and Granada.  Those four matches might decide their fate.  They made a good start hammering Getafe 4-0 in midweek, so confidence is high.

Aythami is a loss; he's been a good center back pairing with Pedro Bigas.  Las Palmas's problem is they just don't score that much, and talentwise they are basically trying to stay up with the same squad that got them here, which is always a difficult task.  Jonathan Viera is probably their best player, and Willian José can be dangerous.

All-time record:  Villarreal have mostly played Las Palmas in the Segunda.  Our overall home record against Las Palmas is 4-3-0, but we've only played twice at El Madrigal in the Primera, in May and November 2001.  We won 2-1 in May and 2-0 in November with goals by Arruabarrena and Jorge López (I told you it was a while ago!!).

Prediction: This is one we ought to win reasonably enough. 2-0 Villarreal. ENDAVANT!!