Villarreal: Five players City should fear

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Manchester City host La Liga outfit Villarreal in the Champions League knowing victory could be crucial to potential progression in the competition.

After drawing at home to Napoli in the opening Group A fixture, a defeat and well-publicised spat between manager Roberto Mancini and striker Carlos Tevez left the club seemingly in European disarray.

Languishing third with one point, only the Yellow Submarine sit below the Citizens after back-to-back defeats in their opening matches. They are also struggling domestically, with Juan Carlos Garrido's side sitting 14th domestically.

However, the El Madrigal outfit do pose a number of threats, even without Brazilian striker Nilmar, who misses out at the Etihad Stadium after an operation on a cyst on his right knee.


GMF picks the five players City will need to watch tonight:

Giuseppe Rossi

The former Manchester United striker and Newcastle loanee came of age after leaving England, scoring prolifically during a short-term spell with Parma before reaching his full potential with Villarreal.

Signed for a reported €10 million in 2007, the 24-year-old has reached every double figures in every Spanish season, and has five goals in all competitions already this term.

Bruno Soriano

A defensive midfielder and product of the Villarreal youth system, Soriano will play a key role in attempting to nullify the attacking threat of City in the centre of the park.

The 27-year-old Spanish international is likely to be tasked with keeping David Silva under wraps, and with Manchester United scouts keen on a move for the player, he clearly has the potential to keep his compatriot occupied.

Jonathan de Guzman

The attacking opposite to Soriano, Canadian-born De Guzman moved to El Madrigal on deadline day in a reported €8.5 million move from Real Mallorca, for whom he'd scored just days before against Espanyol.

A playmaker who graduated through the Feyenoord academy, De Guzman could be key to Villarreal's attacking credentials tonight in a 4-5-1 formation, supporting Rossi on the counter-attack.

Diego Lopez

The 29-year-old Spanish stopper can expect to be busy at the Etihad Stadium tonight, but will be up for the challenge as one of the most consistent keepers in La Liga.

After failing to make an impact during seven years at Real Madrid, Lopez moved to Villarreal in 2007 and became first choice the following year. He will be looking to add to his two clean sheets this term.

Ruben Cani

A key component of the Villarreal midfield following a 2006 move from Zaragoza, Cani remains a mainstay in the side at the age of 30.

He courted controversy in January after throwing a water bottle at Jose Mourinho, but his abilities on the pitch are undeniable - a player in the classic Spanish mold who can play a defence-splitting pass in an instant.

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