To follow the oft used cliche, ‘every match is a final’ right now for Villarreal. This match, along with each of the Europa matches and our next three La Liga matches after all are confrontations where we need to win if our goals for the season are to be met. After that point, the remainder of our league season contains three of the top four clubs in the table, so we better get points while we can.
Fortunately, in this one, Granada has their own problems to worry about, with Manchester United on the docket directly after us. Diego Martinez will have quite the headache figuring out how to keep his players appropriately rested for that match while still getting a positive result against us. Granada are 8th in La Liga, but they are 7 points off of us, so Martinez may just decide that mid table is mid table in the league and throw all his eggs in the Europa League Easter basket, thereby resting players against us. (That’s probably just wishful thinking on my part).
Curiously enough, the stadium this match will be in, Los Cármenes, is one that Granada did not even play the first ever match in, despite it being built in 1995. Real Madrid faced Bayer Leverkusen in a friendly in June before the season while Spain and Armenia played a U-21 match a short time later. In August Granada finally played their first match there, beating Real Betis 4-1 in the ‘Granada Trophy’.
The biggest question for us going into this one is whether Gerard is recovered from the issue he picked up before the international break. If he’s fine, we’re fine. If he’s not... well... he’s our offense so...
If Gerard plays, we win 2-1. If not, 0-0 draw.