When the draw for this week’s Europa League Round of 16 matchup was announced, there was in general a positive vibe in the comments section here at the blog. The overall reaction seemed to be “winnable tie”. Which, yeah, I get–I think in a lot of ways folks were happy to have missed a few other scarier teams (Wolfsburg, Roma, Inter) more than they were feeling like Villarreal will in any way be an easy go. At any rate, I’m more than a little nervous. It’s true that we’re above them in the table, but if I had the time right now and looked I imagine we’d see that they’ve won more points than Sevilla in the last month or two. Which is to say, I’d probably give them the edge on form.
Villarreal has the guns (Dos Santos, Vietto, Cheryshev) to keep our pourous back four (it doesn’t who plays where along the back, it just will be pourous) very busy and very nervous. Of course it’s also true that we’ve witnessed some really great offensive displays recently from Sevilla, and it seems likely that if we’re happy with this result after the game it’ll be because of the away goals we scored rather than, say, the shutout we got.
Anyway, as far as away games go, I guess high scoring is better than the alternative. And given the previously noted crappiness of our defense and their offensive threats, it’s a good bet we’ll want to have a sizeable edge going into next week. So let’s just do it. Let’s