On Sunday, at a match plagued with non-starting players and with the back of its mind in London, Villarreal earned three key points that do two things: the club pushes itself back to the Top 6 of La Liga, which gives the Yellow Submarine rights to be in the path to play in Europe next year, and two, to be able to truly forget about the domestic competition and focus in the second leg of the Europa League semi final against Arsenal. The Gunners also beat Newcastle (0-2), but continue to need to win the continental competition to play European soccer next year.
The match left a lot to be desired, but in true “Cholo Simeone” fashion, Emery made clear that the big match was on Thursday, and that the B team would have to get things done on Sunday. With that in mind, a starting eleven with Asenjo, Mario and Estupiñan in the right and left, and Funes Mori and Pau, who just had to play, on defense was fielded. Capoue, fully recovered, Moi and Parejo manning the midfield, and Samu, Alcacer and Raba, charging the attack.
In a nutshell, only those who absolutely needed to play did so yesterday, and that meant Pau, Parejo, Chukwueze and Alcacer, with Mario as a potential starter for Thursday due to Foyth’s injury on Thursday.
The match was and even one, and even though Getafe had its chances, Villarreal proved to be secure out back, and in the second half, Emery’s man did not show any signs to be playing two competitions in May, and made an extra push to go after the match, with Getafe counting the point as a good one.
In those last 15 minutes of the match, Yeremi Pino, who had come out with 20 minutes to prove himself, created a sensational individual effort evading three players with his technique and skill, and beat David Soria to win the match,
It was Pino’s second goal in the competition, and proof that the young player from the Canary Islands needs more minutes, especially after seeing an odd hour or so of Samu unable to beat his mark and dribbling ad nauseum–much like the last 30 minutes against Arsenal on Thursday. The Nigerian player needs some pressure off him and Yeremi could be a great alternative in specific stages of the match on Thursday.
Things to note
- Mario was good in defending duties, but we did not see much when it came to charging up the flank. If the captain is to play in London, we will likely need that.
- Gerard Moreno came out at the same time Yermi and Bacca did, and he started opening up the Getafe defense with his movement and the fact that, these days, defenders tend to gravitate towards the Pichichi contender when he comes out into the field. This opened up spaces for Yeremi and Bacca to do what they needed to do.
- Mario spoke post-match and let the fans know that “It is impossible to be more motivated for Thursday.” The defender wanted everyone to know that “We are going to London convinced to go win the match and get through to the final.”
- This key win, added to Betis’ tie against Valladolid and Huesca’s unlikely win (1-0) against Real Sociedad means Villarreal is now sixth in La Liga, with 52 points, one point ahead of Betis (7th), and one point behind Real Sociedad (5th). It’s all there for the taking.