In what was one of the most strange performances byCatalan referee Medie Jimenez, Villarreal lost at home to a fresher, but extremely favored by the performance of the referee, Celta de Vigo. The gallegos simply had to focus on their fluid, fast-paced style of play while Villarreal dipped in and out of consciousness as, wrong call after wrong call, the odds kept stacking against the locals.
Personally, I refuse to give this atrocious referee performance more of a spotlight, so I will just make a couple of points and move on. I will just kindly say that this professional should probably take a La Liga break until the end of the season. There is way too much on the line for all teams involved for someone to come and potentially destroy a team’s entire season.
If there had been a crowd in Vila-real today, Medie Jimenez would have had to leave escorted by the stadium’s security. If this happens with a team fighting for survival in La Liga, things could get ugly.
As Sergio Asenjo shared in the post-match press conference and in social media, the decisions were “surreal.” In a nutshell, a Celta goal was given when an obvious foul on Trigueros should have had it called off. VAR caught the play, where Nolito literally grabbed Trigueros leg with his hand, and the referee went to look, but did not call anything.
Minutes later, a head-to-head collision between Asenjo and a Celta player was deemed by the referee as a penalty on the goalkeeper. Everyone who plays soccer knows the goalkeeper needs to be protected in the box. No luck today. 1-2, and after a soft penalty committed by Capoue, the score looked 1-3, and Villarreal players went to their lockers shaking their heads and absolutely shocked. Emery sunk back on his chair and smiled.
The second half was an attempt at getting the flow back by Villarreal, and there were times where they were able to forget about the first 45 minutes and a referee who told the bench he would have “No problem sending every player off,” but the damage was done.
There is some PTSD that will spill into the next match, though–in the first half, both Mario Gaspar and Rulli got sent off for talking about the performance of Meide Jimenez (they were on the bench). Raul Albiol also got a yellow card in halftime, for the same reason.
There are times where not-being-Real Madrid-or-Barcelona means very clear, absolute truths. One of them is that if something as blatant as what happened yesterday happens to a team that isn’t one of those two, nothing really comes of it. If Los Blancos or Cules had gone through what Villarreal went through yesterday, Medie Jimenez would not have refereed a match for a while. The press would have talked about this for days on end.
However, and because things are what they are, the best course of action for us as Villarreal fans is to focus on what we can control. It is almost an exercise in meditation. With that in mind, we will wish the best to both Celta and the referees, and we will move on. There is nothing else to do really.
Serenity now. Poland in 16 days.
Let’s look at the positives. To me, two silver linings stand out: Peña’s performance, and Gerard Moreno’s goal.
The right back is, well, back! Peña had a great performance against Celta yesterday, and what is more important, looked good with still over two weeks to go until the final in Gdansk. This makes me, and should make you, feel really good about May 26th.
If Peña keeps his form up and gets his fitness levels where they need to be, we will almost not miss Foyth. That being said, I still hope the Argentinean makes it to the end of the month, as I trust him more to show up in a match of this calibre–and he deserves this final after a good year.
The second bit of news for us is that Moreno scored again. I mentioned this a few days ago, but it is crucial that the striker get his confidence up leading to the match-up against Cavani and Manchester United. Moreno scored his 21st goal of the season in La Liga yesterday, and that’s music to my ears.
Here’s hoping that Thursday’s match against Valladolid sees more action from both Peña, Moreno, and we keep shaping things up for that battle against the Red Devils.
That’s the good bits. This season, and with the month we have ahead of us, there is no reason to focus on any of the bad ones. Stay zen.
Serenity now. Poland in 16 days.