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Villarreal at Eibar: La Liga Preview

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Without Pau Torres, Unai Emery faces a critical match.

SD Huesca v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but each of the next five league matches is absolutely crucial. We face Eibar, Cadiz, Granada, Osasuna, and Alaves. The way I reckon it, we really need 15 points out of that and anything less than like 13 would be disastrous. We are five points adrift of Real Betis. They will drop points down the stretch so in my opinion they are catchable, but we also need to keep in mind than an excellent Levante side is right on our tale. It all starts against an Eibar side that’s even more desperate than we are.

Our Opponents

Cards on the table, Eibar has survived in the top flight far, far longer than I ever thought they would. When they came up in 2014-2015, they famously had to raise funds just to financially qualify for La Liga, they play in the cracker jack box Ipurura that holds just over 8,000 people, and only avoided relegation their first season because of administration issues at Elche. Since then, they’ve been a plucky mid to lower table side, but now they are in massive amounts of trouble.

If we win this match, it will be the only league double over Eibar we’ve ever accomplished.

Villarreal

The big news of course is the health of Pau Torres. Per Javi Mata on Twitter, Pau is hoping to be back after the international break, which would involve him missing Eibar, the home leg against Kyiv, and Cadiz. Lousy timing. My expectation is that Ramiro Funes Mori, who, if I’m trying to be fair, has been decent so far this season. Doesn’t mean I trust him.

If he can fill in well, though, we could find ourselves in pretty good position with Pau finally getting the rest he needs. We have a team that overall needs to find form, Thursday’s win notwithstanding, and our opponents will be absolutely desperate for any sort of result. Should be interesting.

Predictions

I’m more hoping than predicting. 1-0 Villarreal.