Cristian Zapata's yellow card means he'll miss the match against Betis. A well-rested Gonzalo should take his place (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
The media reports of yesterday's game are in agreement that Villarreal were denied a legitimate goal and a penalty. "Robbery!", shouts a fans' website, and "Villarreal is robbed of two points" says EPM:
Highlights of the game (such as there were) are here:
For his part, Borja Valero is quite clear that the referee should have awarded a penalty.
He's right, but the clearest view of that came from the camera at that end of the pitch, and the referee was poorly positioned to see it from where he was. Still, you'd think he would have realized the defender had to have fouled Borja. (I rather enjoyed the two ladies in the background posing for photos while Borja talks, btw)
As to whether Villarreal deserved to win based on the run of play, that's less clear. Both Lotina and Pochettino thought their team deserved the three points, and AS and La Sexta felt Espanyol played better on the whole:
An interesting point about Bruno being less involved in the match. Do you agree?
A couple of our fan-journalists provided pretty balanced reports. I think the first one is particuarly accurate; both teams came out afraid to give up the first goal. I felt had Ruben's goal been allowed (correctly) we would have seen a far different game, much more open. Hard to say who would have won, maybe it would have been a draw!
Also, confirmation that Marcos Senna came out for precautionary reasons; he felt a hamstring twinge:
Finally, José Luis Lizarraga takes a look at some of the key decisions facing Villarreal this summer. With the Spanish economy tightening further it's certain Villarreal will need to reduce its budget again, so probably another player will move for sure; Lotina's contract only runs to June 30; Senna and Angel's contracts expire. And by the way a permanent shirt sponsor would be nice (have you noticed we get better results in sponsored shirts?)
I can't say as I am looking forward to another season of tightening budgets, but truth to tell we won't be the only ones doing it; Espanyol have already said they will be selling players during the summer in order to stay afloat financially. If we can get the coaching decision right, and keep most of our better players, we should be well-equipped to compete in the competition that really matters (third and fourth places in the least competitively-balanced league in the world).
Enjoy your Monday!