I almost forgot—we have a match tomorrow! And a big one it is. Do we have any team news? We do not. But let’s proceed.....
Our opponents, Huesca: The Aragon side are playing their first season ever in La Liga. While there have been Huesca teams as far back as 1910, SD Huesca began in 1960. (Barcelona supporters were involved in the founding of the side, hence the blaugrana look).
Huesca opened up with a 2-1 win at Eibar, and drew their first home match in the Primera 2-2 with Athletic Club, but since then....uggghhhh. Three home draws (Girona, Getafe, Levante) have been their meager haul, so they are at the bottom of the table with 7 points from 15 games. They’ve defended pretty well (9 goals allowed in 7 league games at home) but they just don’t score much.
In fairness, it’s hard for a newly promoted team since unlike in the EPL there is no immediate huge jump in TV money you can use to buy players. So, you end up with a bunch of loanees--Xabi Etxeita (Bilbao), Samuele Longo (Inter), Cucho Hernandez (Watford), etc. etc. and hope they can jell.
Villarreal connection: Moi Gomez, of course. One of my favorite players in yellow (though he never could make the breakthrough) , he joined Huesca in 2017 from Sporting Gíjón, on loan. And Rubén Semedo. I don’t know if he is eligible to play, but he’s been injured anyway.
Huesca team news: A bunch of injuries,including leading scorer Alex Gallar, defenders Lusinho, Carlos Akapo and midfielders Aguilera and Musto. Moi is healthy, so too Gonzalo Melero, who we may (or may not) have an option to purchase at the end of this season.
Villarreal team news: Very little. Coach LGP says Huesca can be a dangerous counterattacking side and this will be a more difficult game than Spartak was. I hope he’s wrong. He did say he will make some rotations—maybe Pedraza starts along with Santi Cazorla? How about Bacca as the lone striker? I see us in a 4-2-3-1 rather than a 4-4-2 to start, anyway.
All-time record: The sides met in the 2015 Copa del Rey, Huesca winning 3-2 at home, Villarreal winning 2-0 at El Madrigal to progress. In 2012-13 we drew 1-1 at home (under Julio Velasquez) and won at El Toralín, 1-0 with a Jony Pereira goal under Marcelino’s command.
Prediction: Okay, this could be one of those matches Villarreal excels at producing—you know, the kind where you let an inferior team hang around, and hang around....
Or, it could be, actually, a match where we score in the first 20 minutes or so and then lock down the game with a second goal after halftime....sort of like Spartak was. I’ll go for Huesca 1-2 Villarreal. Mostly because I think the feelgood factor contimues to kick in combined with one defensive mistake to keep things nervy.
Trivia: Well, not really trivia, but Huesca’s keeper in both the 2012-13 matches was named Luis García. (Last name Conde, though).
Speaking of Julio Velasquez, I didn’t realize he had been appointed manager of Udinese, much less fired last month.
ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!! Let’s move away from the relegation zone!!