Espanyol have started slowly, but did defeat Celta on the weekend for their first victory of the season, Gerard Moreno and Pablo Piatti the goal-scorers. Leo Baptistao is likely to start, along with Gerard; Hernan Perez is still with this team but will probably be on the bench. Javi Lopez and Oscar Duarte are the only injury misses.
For Villarreal, hopefully Mariano Barbosa will be able to go in goal, and whether or not we’ll see Jaume Costa isn’t clear. There’s some thought that maybe Pablo Fornals will play in the pivot along with Trigueros, giving Rodri a rest. Fornals has done OK on the wing, but he played more centrally at Malaga.
Yes, we do have another match at the weekend and a trip to Israel after that, but I doubt we’ll see a lot of changes right now for Villarreal; we need to pick up three home points.
All-time record: Villarreal have enjoyed a good run of success against the ‘parakeets’ through the years, generally winning in El Madrigal/Ceramica and drawing in Barcelona. We’re 9-6-2 at home in the Primera against them, the two losses happening in 2004 and April 2015.
Last season we won this fixture 2-0 with goals by Roberto Soriano and Cedric Bakambu.
Trivia: Espanyol had a baseball team at one time; they won the 1946 and 1953 Spanish baseball league championship. The league still exists; their team does not.
Prediction: I’ve seen a couple of predictions that we’ll win 2-0. I would be fine with that, though I think 2-1 is more likely.