So here we are, with Villarreal taking a narrow 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Europa League semifinal. The Submarine has usually done well defending a lead away from home in a knockout tie, except for the last semifinal at Anfield, so there’s that.
How will Unai Emery play this one? Defensive early, or attack early and try to batten down the hatches? Who will replace Etienne Capoue and Juan Foyth in the starting lineup....and will there be any other changes? And can this be the year Villarreal finally get over the semifinal hump and make it to the final of a major European club competition? (No, the Intertoto Cup was NOT a major European competition, sorry).
For what it’s worth, fivethirtyeight.com , which had us as 55-45 underdogs before the first leg, now has us as 60-40 favorites to make the final. I’m not sure that matters, but okay, we’re slight favorites. I hope we win, or draw, or get enough away goals to go through. Mostly I hope we aren’t sitting here years from now talking about refereeing errors that kept us out of the final.
So....at the end we give our predictions. We both have our fingers crossed, I have our Villarreal flags draped over the porch, and, well, we’ll see what happens, won’t we?
Give the pod a listen and buckle up for Thursday. Endavant Villarreal.