Emery faces big dilemma ahead of Atletico Madrid clash amid Dia absence

Unai Emery has a dilemma ahead of his side’s crucial clash with Atletico Madrid this evening.

The Yellow Submarine have won their last four games in La Liga, a run that has taken them back to European contention following a disappointing start to the campaign.

Villarreal are back within four points of Atletico Madrid and five points of the top four.

And that gives them a big opportunity this evening when they face Atleti at home looking to make it five La Liga wins on the bounce.

Awaiting them will be a depleted Atleti side, with Luis Suarez and Jose Maria Gimenez both suspended, meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann is out with injury.

But Villarreal have issues of their own.

In form Boulaye Dia and Samu Chukwueze have both left for the African Cup of Nations, while Serge Aurier and Aissa Mandi have also joined their respective nations.

Though, it’s the first of those absences that will cause the biggest problem.

Villarreal’s recent success has come from the return of lead striker Gerard Moreno and the switch to a front two.

Dia has been part of that, and without him, Emery has a problem, especially with Paco Alcacer and Arnaut Danjuma out injured.

Unless he turns to the young Nicolas Jackson, it’s likely Emery will have to revert to the 4-3-3 he used more commonly earlier in the season.

The formation worked well last season, but this season, it has created productivity issues for the Yellow Submarine.

This evening, Emery might just get away with the issue given Atleti have such a large amount of absentees themselves.

But it could be a problem in the coming weeks, pending the return of Danjuma, who is currently struggling from an ankle injury.

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