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Atletico Madrid—Villarreal PREVIEW

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A big match at the Cerámica.

That’s not the ocean, but a normally dry river!!!

Villarreal host Atletico Madrid tomorrow on what promises to be a very wet and cool day at the stadium, but we’re told the pitch is in excellent shape in spite of the heavy rain of the past few days.

The Yellow Submarine have enjoyed success against Atleti in recent meetings, but this will be a tough test. Santy Caceres has returned from injury but is not ready to go 90 minutes yet, and Victor Ruiz is a scratch due to a muscle pull.

Word is Calleja is preparing to go to a 4-2-3-1 with Gerard up front and Fornals playing in the middle of the three as a second striker, sort of. Whether Toko Ekambi will play on the left, or whether Layun and Santi Cazorla are the two flanking Fornals, no one knows.

I would think our strongest lineup would be something like Asenjo; Mario-Alvaro-Bonera-Pedraza; Funes Mori, Trigueros; Layun, Fornals, Toko Ekambi, and Gerard; however, the fact that Bonera is in what might be our strongest lineup is a worry, isn’t it. (I tend to go for our best defensive players against Atleti, which is why I left Santi Cazorla and Jaume Costa out).

Atleti are in pretty good shape, though Diego Costa is missing (I know, I know, we are all so sorry we won’t see him), and José María Giménez is in the squad, but like Caceres is probably not ready for 90 minutes. Academy player Borja Garcés has been called up in Costa’s place.

And, we will face Rodri, who has been starting regularly for Atleti, and there is a lovely story about him here.

Prediction: I already predicted 1-1, which the more I think about it is probably as confident as I can be about this one. Calleja could really use a result here; let’s hope he gets it.