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Europa League Champions take on a small regional club in preseason friendly

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Unai Emery’s side begins preparations to face Chelsea.

Villarreal CF UEFA Europa League Final Victory Parade Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

As our preseason gets rolling, we take on Valencia in a friendly. This friendly, of course, has a very different feel to last year’s preseason, largely because we are getting ready for a European Super Cup for the first time in history. Neither team is putting out their first choice XI but there are interesting players out there. Here are the lineups:

New man Mandi makes an appearance and I’m interested to see how he does. Yeremi, Fer, and penalty shootout Hero Geronimo Rulli start. It’s a little interesting to me that Capoue is starting this one, but I don’t think he’ll run a full 90. Javi Ontiveros is getting a chance here in preseason to show if he’s the answer to our winger depth questions. I love watching Onti play but I am not yet convinced he is at the level this team needs. Looking at the team sheets, we won’t see Dia get a runout today, but Paco and Dani Parejo are both on the bench, as is Juan Foyth, so things should get interesting.

American international Yunus Musah starts for Valencia, as does Gabriel Paulista. These sorts of preseason matches are situations where the result does not matter in any way whatsoever and yet I still really really really wanna see Valencia lose. Lol.

Both these clubs happen to have red away shirts this year, but no one chose to wear them today. I’ll probably drop some thoughts on this friendly in the comments later. Endavant preseason!