Allen is joined by the UK contingent—Robin and Rahul—for this one. Rahul is really excited as he supports both Villarreal and Arsenal and knows both teams very well, and suffice it to say if fans were allowed at either venue Robin and Allen would find a way to be there. But, they’re not, so we preview what should be a close tie between two very similar teams, really—their biggest consistency is their inconsistency in the domestic league this season, but they’ve done well in the Europa League.
Lots of selection questions for both sides (and fitness questions, in Arsenal’s case).
After the break, we remember a Villarreal fan who would be SO excited to see the Submarine face a London side in the semis. Robin Harris, whom many of you will remember under his blog name “orient1”, was a Londoner who came to Villarreal 25-30 years ago and fell in love with the club. He supported them wholeheartedly, and it was sad to hear he had passed away recently from cancer. Alisa and I remember him very fondly from our visit to Vila-real.
Not to end on a sad note, but a glorious one—CONGRATULATIONS to Villarreal Feminina, promoted to the First Division (Primera). This is a huge achievement and we are delighted for coach Sara Monforte and all her staff as well as the playing squad. Some were signed within the last several years, some began playing in Villarreal’s youth program.
It won’t be easy to survive in the Primera—women’s football in Spain is growing stronger each year and the resources devoted to it steadily increase—but I can’t wait to see how we compete against our fellow Valencian sides Levante and Valencia at this level. More derbies!!