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Villarreal-Slavia Prague PREVIEW

Girona v Villarreal - La Liga
Alvaro Gonzalez—he’s played every minute for us in la Liga so far. He might get a rest in this one.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Villarreal have announced their squad to face Slavia Prague on Thursday—only real surprise is Sansone dropped and Ramiro Guerra included as a midfielder:

Keepers: Barbosa, Cantero

Defenders: Mario, Alvaro, Ruiz, Jaume Costa, Rukavina, Bonera

Midfielders: Cheryshev, Fornals, Castillejo, Trigueros, Rodrigo, Roberto Soriano, Ramiro Guerra

Strikers: Bacca, Unal, Bakambu

Roberto Soriano and Cheryshev got a runout against Girona, so I would not be surprised to see either or both in the starting lineup tomorrow.

Slavia Prague: I gave some background on the team here, there is also an article in EPM (in Spanish) about the team’s Chinese owners (CEFC China Energy Company Limited) investing in their “Czech dream”.

When they played Astana on the road they used a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Necid as the lone striker. I would expect them to concede possession (45% against Astana), play for set pieces (10 against Astana, one of which they scored from) and generally try to neutralize Villarreal’s speed by not getting caught too far forward and leaving spaces for the likes of Bakambu or Cheryshev to run into.

Prediction: I’d love to see us win this easily, but we don’t do ‘easily’ in the Europa League very often, have you noticed? I’ll say Villarreal 2-1 Slavia.