Villarreal host Granada in a match that might be almost as interesting for the players missing as those taking part. Granada have Mehdi away on international duty, a couple of players suspended for red cards and others injured, so their lineup is a mystery.
Villarreal have Bakambu on international duty, Alexandre Pato negotiating a contact with a Chinese club in Italy (so unavailable), Mateo Musacchio, Soldado and Cheryshev all injured. Oh, and Santos Borré apparently being returned to Atleti (Braga are rumored to be interested in taking him on loan), so he may not play either.
Adrian López, who arrived only this week, could start with Sansone.
Granada: The Andalusian side has generally struggled sicne being promoted to the Primera in 2011, but have always found a way to engineer an escape from the drop. But this year’s team, well....
The numbers don’t lie. Granada have one win all season (amazingly enough, against Sevilla, at Granada); on the road, they are 0-3-7, nine goals scored in ten matches, 31 given up. Unlike past years, when they had players like Youssef El-Arabi, or Allan Nyom, this roster is pretty poor. They don’t defend well, they don’t score much, and it’s only Mene Ochoa in goal who has prevented a lot of blowouts. Their last away match was a 3-1 loss to Espanyol.
Villarreal: The Yellow Submarine have now gone six matches without a win—the last being in Gijon in mid-December. After a creditable 1-1 draw against Barcelona, our last two matches have been underwhelming, and we have not scored since early in the second half of the Barca match. And now, it looks as though Alexandre Pato and Santos Borre are on the move, to be replaced by Adrián López and ??
The Submarine attack has produced only 26 goals in 19 matches, but don’t forget, we had only 44 on 38 matches last season, and we still finished fourth. Nonetheless, it looks like the club is hoping to turn a quick profit on Pato and try something else. Well, it’s true, Bakambu has not produced, Cheryshev has hardly played, Soldado hasn’t played. Perhaps when we have these three players back, we will see more success.
As it is, we’ve had excellent half-seasons from Bruno and Manu Trigueros in midfield, Sergio Asenjo in goal has been great, Victor Ruiz and Jaume Costa have starred on the backline. But we need goals!
Prediction: Villarreal 2-0 Granada. Not sure how we score, exactly, but I think we will, and I don’t see Granada doing so.