It’s al happening. Villarreal ends their domestic season with an explosive match against Real Madrid that will decide the championship for Zidane’s men, and which European competition Villarreal will play, bar the Europa League final.
This week, news from the capital of Spain poured through to the rest of the country around Emery’s will to field a competitive starting eleven against Real Madrid. There were rumors around Atletico’s apparent “outrage” at us not playing Moreno, Parejo, Albiol and Pau, and everybody else, regardless of the most important match in our history playing less than 96 hours from Saturday.
In the end, every team in our position, with a potential title on the line and a qualification to the Champions League as a byproduct of that title, would make sure not to field the same exact eleven that would play in Gdansk. Regardless, there are some things that never change, and this is one of them–comments from all sides on the week of a match against Real, Barcelona and the like, on how we should do or not do something, or make sure to play in a specific way.
We keep going.
The training session in Vila-real clarified a few things: one, that Juan Foyth is looking more and more fit for the final on Wednesday. The Argentinean will not feature in Valdebebas tomorrow, but is looking to start next week. Music to the ears of Villarreal fans after Juan’s performances, especially in Europa League, this season. A good match by the young player could shore up a full transfer from Tottenham to Villarreal, through a payment of approximately 15 Million Euro Tottenham’s Levy is asking to receive.
On the other hand, Samu Chukwueze does not seem like he will make the final. A truly big blow for Emery, who has trusted the Nigerian winger through the entirety of the season, and who has shown in big games before. He may make the bench and potentially have a few minutes in him, but he will very likely not start in Gdansk. With that in mind, Yeremy Pino will need minutes against Real tomorrow to keep getting match-fit for Wednesday.
Speaking of, Yeremy and striker Fer Niño both were called to Spain’s Under-21 national team. Pino and Niño have 10 rollercoaster days: Real Madrid tomorrow, Manchester United on Wednesday, and Croatia, in the quarterfinals of the U-21 Euro, on the 31st.
Two other quick mentions:I personally still feel that whoever join forces tomorrow with Moreno and Yeremy up front will play in the final. It makes no sense to me to field Bacca last week against Sevilla, tomorrow again, and then ask Paco Alcacer to perform on Wednesday. If Carlos starts tomorrow, I’ll expect him to play against Manchester United. If Paco is the one, Bacca will be a super-sub on Wednesday.
At this point, I want the Colombian to play. He’s won the Europa League twice with Sevilla. He’s scored in finals–and, he just netted a hat-trick against the Andalusian team in La Liga last week. He’s in form and we need to take advantage of that. Play Moreno and Yermy on the wings, and put Bacca up front.
The last thought goes to Pau Torres. A lot has been written about the young centerback, including a few who spoke to their lack of conviction that Torres could cut it at the highest level. In a lot of ways, they see this week as an audition for the big teams.
Can he stop Benzema on Saturday? Can he do the same with Cavani on Wednesday? If he does, a top team may be willing to splurge the 65 Million Euros that protect his contract.
I don’t really care about any of that. This week is not an audition for Pau. Mind you, this is the most important week in the history of Villarreal. We need him focused on tomorrow, on the final in Poland, and then, and only then, let’s see where he lands.
My hopes are still that we win the cup, qualify for the Champions League, and are able to retain Pau one more year at least.
Big week for us. Let’s hope it’s a good one!