Sorry about the late preview....travel adventures intervened.... Espanyol visit the Ceramica, currently in 9th place in la Liga, on 36 points. In recent years the parakeets have meandered around the middle or lower-middle of the table and have generally not impressed on the run-in. Will it be different this year? Today’s game could be pivotal in determining Espanyol’s chances for making a late challenge for a European place.
A number of Espanyol’s key players have Villarreal experience. Start at the back with 35 year-old Diego López. He’s on loan from Milan, and has played well in goal. Hernán Pérez storms down one of their wings (three goals, eight yellow cards—still the same fiery competitor) and of course Gerard Moreno, who wanted to play for his childhood team (he used to be a ballboy) has 10 goals already—his record on any professional level is 12 (Villarreal B in 2012/13).
The teams have had an on-again, off-again relationship in the last few years. Espanyol threw a fit when we signed Eric Bailly from them, but the Gerard sale the one way (and Alvaro Gonzalez’s the other) seems to have smoothed things over a bit.
They could go with either 4-2-3-1, or maybe 4-4-2, as they did against Celta in midweek.
Villarreal has recovered some of its injured players, but still no Cheryshev apparently. We enter with good momentum, and hopefully Andrés gained confidence from the Osasuna match in midweek—he looked far better than he has all year.
Prediction: This Espanyol club scares me because of Gerard, Hernán, Pablo Piatti and Diego Lopéz at the back, but historically we’ve done pretty well against them at home. So I will go for a 2-1 home win.