Three points would have been great, but the joy has returned to Vila-real nonetheless. Some great moments to savor yesterday against a very strong Valencia side.
The match reports from yesterday's game are pretty much what one would expect. AS features Aduriz's equalizer in their headline, Senna is their MOTM and Topal their "had a mare" player:
The EPM recap highlights the two central defense errors, one late in each half, that allowed Valencia to equalize, but also the failure of Nilmar to make much of an impact. Also, perhaps we sat back a bit too much when more attacking could have killed the game off, but the writer generally praises the team and Molina overall, though noting "Self-esteem has increased, but the vitamin of confidence can only come through winning", writes the author.
Las Provincias has a nice writeup, and it is more positive. "The 'groguets' sleep this week in relegation", it says, "but anyone who witnessed yesterday's game can tell that with this change in attitude, Villarreal will not be struggling to attain salvation".
And to go with that, here's a whole fitful of pictures (over 100!) from pitchside:
Now, here are a couple of analyses from Jose Luis Lizarraga. In his first one, "A draw doesn't detract from a resurrected Villarreal", he makes the point that Garrido could have started the same lineup as Molina, and yet "Molina did not change anything, and everything changed." (I like the line about Senna having bathed for two days in the fountain of youth, too).
His second article is very interesting, comparing Garrido's and Molina's management styles. Lizarraga says Garrido ran "a dictatorship based around his figure". Garrido was not a bad coach, but a poor manager of players. As for Molina, with his appointment, "freedom came into the dugout".
I found it interesting that against Osasuna, Marco Ruben seemed to be the player who was fighting hardest for Garrido--remember the pumped fist and look he gave to the bench after scoring?--while the veterans (Nilmar, Borja, Senna, etc.) seemed to have had the joy squeezed out of their play by Garrido's style. This article confirms that:
The author concludes by saying "I don't know if Molina is a good coach or not....it is possible that Garrido was more technically prepared than him" but that by changing the leadership model, Villarreal has begun to function. "Despite all the shotcomings, there is quality and talent to be in the top eight without reinventing the wheel".
Lizarraga does point out that to compete in a league with Barca, Madrid and Valencia is difficult, and I think it's worth pointing out Valencia's quality yet again. As we've said, they did an excellent job in the summer transfer market--we did not, it appears. I can't say if Los Che have narrowed the gap between themselves and the top two, but they have certainly widened the gap between themselves and the next group of teams, including Villarreal. Food for thought.
And one last note of importance, Bruno Soriano's yellow card was his fifth of the season so he will miss the Atleti match, as will Marco Ruben; for their part, Perea and Dominguez are suspended for the mattress-makers as well:
We'll put up some of your tweets from yesterday in a separate post shortly. Endavant Villarreal!!