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Villarreal at Maccabi Tel Aviv: Europa League Gamethread

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Unai Emery’s men look to extend perfect start in Europe.

Villarreal CF v Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC: Group I - UEFA Europa League Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We absolutely mowed Maccabi down last time we faced them, in a match delayed by over an hour do to an insane rain storm. I don’t expect this match to go nearly as easily. Maccabi will be at home, we’ll have traveled to a different continent, and with 9 points in the competition so far Emery will start rotating more and more. We should still get a win, but it won’t come easily.

As I’m writing this the day before, and Thursday is a national holiday here in the States, I don’t know if I will be able to get the lineups in here before match time. As Allen mentioned yesterday, I think we’ll see exactly zero of our normal starters on the pitch. The exception might be left back, as Jaume Costa might get dropped into defensive midfield with Pedraza or Pervis out on the left. The tricky part will be that Pino, Baena, Kubo, and Samu all need playing time, and it’ll be a little bit of a jigsaw puzzle fitting them all in.

UPDATE: Here is our starting lineup!! Rulli; Peña, Foyth, Funes Mori, Pedraza; Trigueros, Coquelin, Álex Baena; Samu, Bacca, Kubo. (that’s five changes from the first leg; no Albiol, Jaume Costa, Iborra, Parejo, or Yeremi)

Subs: Asenjo, Jörgensen, Mario, Albiol, Chakla, Costa, Parejo, Iborra, Yeremy, Gerard i Niño.

Maccabi go with Tenenbaum; Kandil, Hernández, Tibi, Saborit; Peretz, Glazer, Golasa; Cohen, Pesic and Biton. I believe that’s six changes from their lineup last time; though the back four is largely the same (Kandil in for Bitton), Cohen and Peretz are the only two of the attacking players to keep their spots. New goalkeeper, too.

Maccabi has six points in the group so far (which is a big surprise to me), they may just wanna get out of this one with a draw so that Sivasspor can’t catch them no matter what they do against Qarabag. With Real Sociedad coming up for us, Emery might be okay with a draw as well and this whole thing could be fairly boring.

Hopefully though, we score early and the match opens up, resulting in a fun afternoon for all involved and a win for us. Endavant!