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Sevilla-Villarreal PREVIEW

Not the best time for the suspensions and injuries we have this week.

FC Sevilla v Villarreal CF - UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

For some reason, the league placed this marquee matchup—Sevilla, third in the table, versus Villarreal, currently sixth—in the Sunday early kickoff slot, which means a lot of people won’t be able to see it. Thanks, Tebas!

As for the match itself, Sevilla have to be favored—they are playing really well, especially at home. They will miss Nico Pareja, and maybe Sergio Escudero, but Nasri, ben Yedder, Jovetic, Vietto...those guys are all there. Sevilla have won 8 of their last 9 home matches, only losing to Barcelona in that span.

Villarreal are banged up—Victor Ruiz might not play, Sansone certainly won’t, Cheryshev is just returning from injury—and Alvaro Gonzalez and Roberto Soriano are both missing through yellow card accumulation. We do have Cedric Bakambu in the squad, back from the African Cup of Nations.

All-time record: Sevilla has been a bogey club for us in various competitions of late, and our record in Sevilla has been terrible. In the league, we’re 2-1-11, with 12 goals scored and 26 given up, which is dreadful. Amazingly enough, one of those two wins came in our relegation season, when we won 2-1 on Sunday, February 5. Could that be an omen?

(You all remember Javier Camuñas scored the game-winner, right?)

Our only other win here was in June of 2007, with a goal from Fabricio Fuentes. Now there is a name I had not thought about in a while!!

Prediction: I am an eternal optimist, especially for matches that kick off at 3AM California time.....but at my most optimistic? A draw....1-1 maybe, or 2-2. We’ll need a goal from a set piece and a bit of luck I think.

With Real Sociedad facing an easy home tie against Osasuna, a draw isn’t likely to match them, but on the other hand, a point from the Sánchez Pizjuán is a point most teams won’t get. So I would feel pretty good if we could do that.

Endavant Villarreal!!!