Villarreal are playing on a Monday for what seems like the first time in ages, and that probably won’t help the attendance in our temporary home ground.
Anyway, this match features clubs in 8th and 9th position in the table starting this weekend’s action; it also matches up two clubs who have not won in their last three times out in the league.
We will miss seeing Rubén Peña on the pitch for the visitors, as he picked up a red card last match. However, Moi Gómez will be there (full disclosure for those of you who know I’ve been a fan of Moi’s for years: I would have bought an Osasuna home shirt in Pamplona with Moi’s name on the back had I seen one, but I didn’t, and I didn’t go to the shop in El Sadar to try). More importantly, Chimy Avila is available for the Basque side, and he seems to always score goals against us. To be precise, he scores late against us. Osasuna have won 4 of the last 6 matches against us, and Chimy has had a second-half, tie-breaking, winning goal in 3 of them.
Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate always looks a bit downhearted, but he’s been at the Navarrese club since 2018, an eternity it seems. He was at the helm when they won the Segunda in the 2018-19 season and since then Osasuna have comfortably survived in the Primera, finishing in mid-table.
Arrasate has used various formations this season; look for Avila to be on the right and Moi to be on the left of a 4-2-3-1 or something like that. They will concede possession, they will try to counterattack, and they will try to keep things tight.
All-time record: 18-8-18 overall. Villarreal is 9-4-4 at home against the rojillos, but two of those four losses have come in the last two matchups. So maybe getting away from the Ceramica will be a good thing. Our last win against Osasuna was back in December 2020.
Prediction: These two teams have not drawn much at all (the last one was back in the 2011-12 season, 1-1 when Lotina was managing Villarreal...need I say more). With Villarreal’s lack of firepower at the moment, it feels like a 0-0 or 1-1 draw is on the cards. But, we’ll hope for a 3-1 win with goals from Baena, El Commandante and maybe Danjuma. ENDAVANT!