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Villarreal vs Atalanta: Champions League Preview

Unai Emery directs the Yellow Sub back to where they belong.

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Inter Milan v Villarreal - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 1st Leg Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

It’s finally feeling real. We are really going to play in the Champions League group stage again. We have a tough group, but I think we have every reason to be optimistic. After a very, very long international break, where we didn’t even play our first league match back, we get to dive feet first into the UCL.

Our Opponents

Atalanta, for the last several years, has been one of the most electric teams in Europe, scoring 90 or more goals in the league each of the last two season. This offense is based more on a strong team dynamic than it is exceptional individuals, but I think they pose enough of a threat that we’ll see Emery put out well organized banks of four and look for a draw.

Villarreal

Our roster is inching closer to full health, but I think we’ll be a lot more potent a few weeks from now than we are currently. I, for one, am hoping to see Danjuma start. We looked a lot more threatening in his few moments on the pitch the other week. I also think that, if we aren’t going to have a fully healthy midfield, we might as well go ahead and start Paco up top with Gerard. As I thoroughly learned during last year’s UEL run, however, predicting what Unai Emery will do in terms of side rotation is impossible.

Prediction

As annoying as it can often be, I think this is another Unai Emery draw special. 1-1 in an affair without a ton of action.

Here in the United States, you can watch the match on Paramount Plus.