It’s a pretty rough looking lineup as Villarreal travel to Celta Vigo:
We get doubled up left backs, which is something I’ve never particularly liked, and double right backs as well. It looks like Emery has an eye ahead to Manchester United, which really doesn’t seem like something we can afford being in the lower half of the table in the league.
Danjuma, Asenjo, Paco, and Capoue are all described as being out with ‘minor’ injuries and Gerard is neither in the 18 nor on that list. We obviously couldn’t put out a gala XI no matter what, but as tough as it is to win on the road in this league, this selection doesn’t exactly leave you jumping for joy. I’m not even sure who is supposed to score. Dia has had trouble in front of goal since he got here, and the next most dangerous ‘goalscorer’ on the pitch is probably Manu Trigueros, as absurd as that is. Maybe we can win a header on a set piece or something.
Santi Mina and Iago Aspas present a very dangerous combination, and Mina in particular has been a serious creative threat in addition to his goalscoring. If I were looking at these two lineups as an impartial observer and knowing Celta are at home, I would certainly favor them to be leading this match at halftime.
It’s a shame. We are one of the most talented teams in the division and we have the talent to put out a much better XI than this, but Emery seems to have accepted this game can be a draw or worse as he tries to get through to the knockouts of the Champions League. I really don’t see the logic in it, if I’m honest. At any rate, maybe the boys will surprise us today and play really good football. At the very least, this lineup does seem geared toward possessing the ball well. Endavant Villarreal!