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Villarreal news as Europa League continues without us

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Lyon and Arsenal post strong wins away from home

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Villarreal news: Ramiro Guerra is out for several months after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He’s been playing latterly for our B team, last appearance Feb. 25 against Hércules. Nicola Sansone has returned to training with the first team and should be in the squad to travel to Las Palmas—we’ll see.

Injuries for ex-amarillos too—Denis Suarez with a groin injury in the Catalan supercup, ouch.

An article in Sphera Sports points out some current problems facing Villarreal, and is worth reading if you can do so (in Spanish, here). The author is critical of our attack (Bacca hasn’t scored in a month, Ünal is developing slowly, Roger arrived out of shape).

The big criticism the author offers—which is an interesting one and well worth discussing—is that compared to past years, we have much less of a ‘template’ (i.e. squad) but instead, a starting XI. Asenjo is a clear first choice keeper, the starting back four is much better than their backups, Rodri and Trigueros are playing almost every minute—while players like Cheryshev and Soriano are having off seasons, so Fornals and Castillejo are relied upon more.

It’s an interesting point, though for me it all comes back to the bizarre preseason which didn’t seem to have any plan or focus.

As for our failure to sign Gerard Moreno or Sandro Ramirez in January, that’s been discussed here before. We tried, I understand.

Moving on to the Europa League, Spanish clubs had mixed fortunes. Atletico Madrid beat up on Lokomotiv Moscow, 3-0, so should be able to preserve that lead in Russia; Athletic Bilbao somehow only lost 3-1 to Marseille—the only goal for the Basque side a controversial penalty. The French team missed at least four great chances in the second half to add goals, so if Athletic can put together a 2-0 win in San Mamés....

Everybody drink your Red Bull—Salzburg defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Germany, Leipzig defeated Zenit 2-1. As for Villarreal’s conquerors, Lyon, they won 1-0 at CSKA Moscow. Other results: AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal, Lazio 2-2 Dynamo Kyiv, Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Viktoria Plzen.

Finally, Happy International Women’s Day. “Same feeling, same passion”, says the photo, and our women’s side is indeed feeling the passion, having won three matches in a row. They have a big match against Albacete this Sunday, unfortunately at the same time as our B-team match. If we win it we should be comfortably mid-table. Endavant, senyores!!