Real Valladolid have had struggles of their own lately. They had a 6-game unbeaten streak in the league in September and October that brought them most of their points (14 of 25), since that time, they have struggled. Except for a 4-0 loss at Huesca last week, they haven’t been blown out—was that result an aberration, or a sign of things to come?
Luismi Sanchez is injured and Fernando Calero is suspended, while Enes Unal can’t play against us. When these two teams met at the end of September, Jordi Masip was incredible in their goal—10 saves and a missed Gerard penalty, if you recall. He’s likely to be there again. Our loanee Leo Suarez, who scored the only goal of the game, is gone to Mallorca, but there is still a Villarreal connection—Kiko Olivas (Villarreal B/Villarreal, 2008-12) is one of the Valladolid centerbacks.
Villarreal come in with a new, sort of, coach, and maybe a new formation. We played a 4-4-2 against Valladolid before, now we might go to a 3-5-2. Manu Trigueros is questionable—he’s missed practice time this week with niggling injuries—and of course Bruno Soriano is unavailable. Positives from Sunday included the Iborra-Santi center of midfield, and Pedraza and Ekambi both had good games. I’m guessing all those players will feature again.
Prediction: Maybe I should say 1-1 so we’ll win? Since predicting a win ends in draws....