Villarreal are in Eibar to take on the hometown side in another key La Liga battle. The Villarreal squad is as follows:
Keepers: Asenjo and Barbosa.
Defenders: Mario, Álvaro, Adrián Marín, Victor Ruiz, Rukavina, Bonera
Midfielders: Cheryshev, Fornals, Castillejo, Trigueros, Rodri, Javi Fuego, Soriano, Raba
Strikers: Bacca, Ünal, Roger Martínez
Sansone is still out (originally he was supposed to be back this week), Bruno and Andres Fernandez are also injured, and Jaume Costa is serving a suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Eibar are missing Sergi Enrich and Ivan Ramis, but Fabian Orellana returns. The Basque side have been difficult to beat at home, losing only to Barcelona and Atleti in the last four months. Key players are likely to be the aforementioned Orellana, Pedro Léon, and José Angel, who provides a lot of support to the attack from his left-back position.
The weather has been noteworthy— a winter storm brought snow down to sea level in Northern Spain, and Iparua had about 4” of snow blanketing it this morning. However, it’s all been cleared, and it appears the pitch will be ready for play.
Villarreal’s plane arrived at Bilbao around noon Spanish time—it’s a good thing they didn’t try to arrive earlier because the airport had been closed earlier. After the match the Submarine players return to their hotel and will remain in Eibar overnight before returning to Vila-real tomorrow, assuming no interesting weather intervenes.
Head-to-head: This has been an interesting rivalry since Eibar’s promotion to the Primera in 2014. Matches have generally been close, though we won a 3-0 decision at home in October (a hat-trick from Cedric Bakambu). That’s the only match that has been decided by more than one goal since 2014.
Overall (all matches): Villarreal 1-3-6 away, 7-1-3 home. In the Primera, Villarreal is 2-1-1 at home, 1-1-1 away.
Prediction: Eibar counterattack very well and Orellana and Sergio Leon are exactly the kind of players who give us problems. However, they don’t have a ton of firepower up front. It doesn’t look like a match where either will shut out the other. I’ll go for 1-1, but it would not be a surprise if either side were to win 2-1.