As if things couldn’t get any worse for Villarreal prior the game against Monaco, it turns out that Daniele Bonera had to withdrew from the latest training session due to a muscle strain. As it stands today, Bonera could miss up to a month, which will only aggravate the current situation at El Madrigal with so many already injured players. Bonera adds up another casualty in recent days since Jona also got injured during the match against Leganés.
It won’t be an easy task to field a strong line up by any means for new manager Fran Escribá. In addition to Jona and Bonera, skipper Bruno and also Jaume Costa are shaking off some physical discomforts. Musacchio is reported to be having experiencing some physical discomfort as well.
Letting all injuries aside, Escribá will have to cope with the loss of Víctor Ruiz for the first leg of the Champions League tie since the defender is carrying a sanction from his last European match.
Alfred N’Diaye is currently the only healthy “CB” available for the first leg. We have to emphasize CB in quotation marks since N’Diaye is technically a defensive midfielder as that is his preferred position. Marcelino tried to convert him into a CB during preseason which has rather prove to be unsuccessful against lower tier teams so far. Monaco is a much more outright team than the ones Villarreal faced in preseason with a negative balance of results in the latest games.
Escribá could turn to Mario Gaspar to take cover in the heart of the defense as a CB. Super Mario played in the aforementioned position in the friendly against Leganes leaving a good impression. Remember Mario actually played as CB during a few games last season in the Europa League against Dinamo Minsk and Rapid Wien, and also in league against Málaga. It is worth mentioning Villarreal won all those matches. I guess it’s time to prove why we call him “Super Mario”.
It’s still unknown who will be playing against Monaco or which formation Escribá will be using even. Alexandre Pato isn’t at 100% still, which could oblige Escribá to use Roberto Soriano as a second striker supporting canterano Mario González.
Patience is a virtue, my dear reader. All the mysteries will be answered in due time.
It is at desperate times that we often ask ourselves some random questions. Was it really a good idea from Marcelino to let go of both Pablo Íñiguez and Aleksandar Pantić?. Pablo had a remarkable season commanding and leading the defense of the B team. Pantić was a key player in Eibar’s campaign, avoiding relegation and often fighting for the European spots at one point during the season.
Were they actually worse options than N’Diaye in defense?. Most likely not, but the precedent is there. As our fellow dear Villarreal USA colleague Siddarth says: “You can never have too many CB’s”. And that is being proven as of today.