As usual, we’ve got BeINSport bringing the action, on both their English and main Spanish channels this time.
Team news—Santi Cazorla is OUT for today’s match, as he suffered a sprained left ankle yesterday toward the end of practice. (note: this is not the same foot as he injured in 2016).
Villarreal have a starting XI of Asenjo; Mario, Albiol, Pau, Quintillà; the midfield has (in some fashion) Zambo Anguissa, Manu Morlanes, Manu Trigueros, and Moi Gomez, Toko Ekambi, and Gerard Moreno are the front group. I’m acting like it’s a 4-3-3 in describing that, but we’ll have to see how they actually line up.
Bench: Andres Fernandez; Santy Caceres, Funes Mori, Bacca, Chukwueze, Peña, Ontiveros.
Valencia are starting with Cilessen; Wass, Mangala, Gabriel, Gayà; Ferran, Coquelin, Parejo, Soler; Maxi Gomez and Rodrigo.
We have been saying that a real test for Calleja would be whether we could do well when we are missing key players—last week we did not when Albiol was out, today we are missing both Santi and Iborra. I’m feeling less confident about that draw now that Santi is unavailable—plus, it would have been great to see Parejo and Santi each pulling the strings from midfield for their respective clubs. (Plus, I received an email awhile back from a California couple who are big Santi fans and were hoping to go to this match to see him—-no idea if they are at the Mestalla or not).
Endavant, and let’s hope our pessimism is misplaced....