Last week was entirely too stressful. Tied 3-3 in the 74th minute, I had all kinds of questions about our defense, or, more specifically, our midfield’s ability to shield our defense. Then came on Paco Alcacer, whose deadly finishing gave us three points to start our Europa campaign with.
La Liga sides won all three of their matches in this competition in round one, and in fact, no league side from anywhere other than Madrid has lost a match in this year’s group stage.
Qarabag lost their opener, which sort of surprised me. I anticipated Maccabi Tel Aviv being the worst team in this group. I personally think Sivasspor is going to beat them up pretty badly today, which means that if we can get a win we would be all clear atop the group after two matches.
Villarreal: Rulli; Ruben Peña, Foyth, Pau, Jaume Costa; Iborra, Trigueros, Pedraza, Take, Samu; Bacca
I’m really excited to see Foyth and Pau play together. May not be the best pairing in the air but the ball playing will be there. I’m really concerned about Costa at LB, and the Trigueros/Iborra partnership has some big questions to answer.
I think Iborra will work better than Coquelin because he’ll stay at home more, but we have zero ball carrying in the middle of the pitch right now. We’ll see how it goes. Take and Samu should create plenty of chances against this level of opposition, we’ll see if Bacca can finish them.
Official team sheet has this as a 5-3-2, which Chukwueze as a CM and Costa as a third CB... I’ll be very surprised if that’s how it actually looks on the field.
Qarabag: Magomedaliyev; Huseynov, Mammadov, Medina, Guerrier, Garayev, Andrade, Ozobic, Romero, Zoubir, Owusu
We really should win this match.