Villarreal host Deportivo Alavés at the Cerámica tomorrow (kickoff is at noon California time). This is yet another big game, in part because it’s our only home match in October!
Our opponents: Alavés are currently 14th in the table on 11 points, but six of those points have come in their last two home matches, with 2-0 wins over Mallorca and Celta. Away from home they have only one point from their first four matches.
Asier Garetano, longtime Leganés coach, took over the reins from Abelardo in May 2019. He’s a defense-first coach: Alavés have only allowed 9 goals in 9 games, but they have only scored 7—and only one on the road.
Expect Alavés to put a lot of guys behind the ball, hope for the deadball situation where they can use their aerial strength. They’ll probably play a 4-4-2 with Lucas Perez (ex-Depor and Arsenal) partnered with ex-Newcastle, ex-Stoke, ex-Real Madrid cantera striker Joselu.
Rodrigo Ely, ceenterback, and Tomas Pina, defensive midfielder (and of course a former member of the Yellow Submarine) are doubtful. But another ex-Villarreal player, Wakaso Mubarak, is available. He must lead the league in yellow cards (6 in 8 matches) and has already served a suspension.
Villarreal appear to have just the long-term absentees Ramiro Guerra and Bruno Soriano (who spent some time training with the first team this week). So, expect a largely unchanged XI from the Espanyol match, but with a lot more attacking intent.
All-time record: Poor, actually. Since Alavés returned to the Primera in 2016, we have won one match and lost five. All-time, we are 4-0-4 at home, 2-1-5 away in the Primera.
Prediction: Isn’t it about time we won a home match against these guys? I sure think so!!! Villarreal 2-1 Alavés. Maybe 3-1 if we’re in good attacking form, but we should get three points tomorrow.
Note: I am hoping to put up a gamethread tomorrow, though our power company keeps cutting power and intimating they could do so again. If it does not show up before the game starts, use this as the gamethread, please!!!