It’s really hard for me to focus my brain back onto a La Liga matchday with all this Super League stuff going on. It just has my brain flying at a million miles an hour. But, what we are here to do first and foremost is cover our beloved Villarreal and that’s what we’re going to do.
We won this fixture 3-1 back in September. Paco had a brace, Gerard scored, and Alaves played a really ineffective flat 442. They’ve sacked two manager since then and their current boss is someone we know very well, Javi Calleja. What’s more worrisome to me is, Calleja also knows us very well. No opposition manager will know our roster better all season. I don’t think the Alaves job was a particularly good one for him to take, but his presence does make for a dangerous situation going into Wednesday’s match.
Alaves is coming off what was, for them, a huge 1-0 win over Huesca. I don’t scoff at that win at all because we failed to beat Huesca either time this season. Calleja still had them in a 442 and what I suspect he’ll try to do against us is keep that formation and apply pressure near the middle of the pitch, allow for quick counters to Lucas Perez and Joselu.
As I said in the preview to our match with Levante, what I suspect Emery will try to do is put his best foot forward in that match and this one, more or less toss the Barca match by rotating then try to be ready for Arsenal next Thursday. In this strange world we live in, that Arsenal match may never come. This could result in Emery rotating for this match, and if he does, he has to come up with a better plan than whatever that awful formation was against Osasuna. Don’t expect Gerard, Paco, Parejo, Samu, or Pau to play the full 90.
When he’s not breaking our rhythm on purpose to try to rotate, Unai Emery has this team absolutely humming right now. I think we win 3-1 unless he does that weird Osasuna crap again.