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Villarreal at Tenerife: Copa Del Rey Preview

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Unai Emery’s men look to advance to the round of 16.

Villarreal CF v Levante UD - La Liga Santander Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

A crucial run of matches looms in La Liga. Granada and Real Sociedad both loom before the end of the month, a match against Huesca sits in between and to be honest I think we need a minimum of 7 points from these matches to stay strong in the fight for fourth. In the meantime, our Copa Del Rey lives hang in the balance on a trip to historic giant killers Tenerife.

Our opponents

I hate playing small clubs I’ve heard of. I know that might sound odd or silly, but a small club with a old and proud tradition walks into a match against a top flight side often fully believing that they belong on the field as equals. It’s hard to intimidate and blow away a team like that. I fully expect a difficult match in this one.

In all competitions, Tenerife has won five straight matches, all without conceding. They aren’t really a threat for promotion in Segunda this season, but they might be playing their best football right now.

Villarreal

We are now to the point in the competition where it will be interesting to see how much Emery does or does not rotate. I somewhat expect to see starts from Coquelin, one of Pedraza or Estupinan (probably the latter given recent selections) and our usual youth contingent of Baena, Pino, and Fer. Emery has also liked to take advantage of the five sub rule in the Copa so far, closing out games by putting in first choice midfielders to choke out any chance at a late comeback.

Predictions

I’ve been really impressed with Emery’s ability to massage results out of heavily rotated sides this season. I think that continues. 2-0 Villarreal.