Villarreal will play Levante tomorrow in a friendly at the El Saler complex where Villarreal has been training. This marks the end of the first phase of preseason; after this, the Submarine heads to Austria for a ‘concentration’ that will feature friendlies against Augsburg, Köln, and Schalke.
I realize in the podcast I made an error—Villarreal played Levante in a friendly in the summer of 2017, not 2018. It was at the magnificent El Collao ground of Alcoyano, and the Submarine prevailed 3-1 with the winning goals coming late on. As I recall, Bardhi was the star of the show for the granotes that day.
Of course, ironically enough, the two teams would meet in the first league match of the season a few weeks later, and Levante won 1-0 on a late, disputed penalty (aren’t they all)? Much can change in two years: Fran Escribá was our manager then, and only five of our starting XI remain with the team two years on.
Similarly to 2017, we will be traveling down to the Ciutat de Valencia ground early in the season, but it will be the second jornada.
We won’t have Samu, Toko E or Funes Mori yet, but we will have Santi. Alberto Moreno is not expected to play as he recovers from his muscle injury; I suspect Moi Gómez won’t yet either as he was only signed a couple of days ago.
Yes, it is still an early preseason friendly and we should see lots of players, but unlike West Brom, Levante are a known quantity and presumably will have brought some strikers for our defenders to deal with.
This friendly will be televised in the Valencian Community, and I believe Radio Vila-real, or else A Punt, will have the audio call. It’s at 10AM California time, which means I may be able to catch a bit of it before flying to the East Coast. I will put up a gamethread in hopes some of us can watch the match and comment. Endavant!!