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Villarreal at Rayo Vallecano: Copa Del Rey Preview

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The cup run is starting to get interesting.

Deportivo Alaves v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Last 16 in the Copa del Rey against lower division opponents. That’s what I call an opportunity. It won’t be an easy game, once again we are facing a side that is just one year removed from the top flight- a side that beak Real Betis on penalties in their last Copa match, but we should win this game.

Our Opponents

I always kind of think of Rayo as the Spanish version of St. Pauli. It may be a little bit of a stretch but in both clubs have a political left wing fan culture/use pirate imagery (both even have punk rock bands actively involved in supporting the club) and Rayo’s ultras regularly protest the commercial nature of modern football.

On the pitch, this has not been the bounce back season they had hoped for. Sitting in 11th, they are almost certainly not going to be coming back to La Liga next year which makes this the biggest match they have for the rest of the year. This is of course the exact opposite scenario from what we saw against Girona where we didn’t even really have to face their first choice side.

We have faced Rayo both in the first and second divisions. We are 12-6-6 in those matches including a 3-1 win last time we faced them in March of 2019.

Villarreal

Pau, Gerard, and Alberto are all still hurt. Quintilla is suspended and so of coure this creates a very interesting scenario at left-back. Will Sofian Chakla debut with the first team after being promoted yesterday? I wouldn’t imagine Calleja wants to see Bacca playing three times a week at his age so we should get a good look at Fer Niño (or maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part) but otherwise we’ll probably put out a relatively strong side.

Prediction

If we can get to the last eight I’ll start getting starry eyed about maybe being able to really make this a campaign to remember in the Copa Del Rey. We’ll need to play well in this one but I think we come away 2-1 winners.