Villarreal fans were heartened by two magnificent goals from French striker Jérémy Perbet in his first game for the club. He's quickly become a fan favorite at El Madrigal, and why not? Even before his first goal, he forced a save from the keeper with a shot on target--something we've been lacking this year--and his pinpoint header from an excellent Mario Gaspar cross gave the Submarine a 2-0 lead shortly before halftime.
But his second goal, Villarreal's third of the match, was even better. Perbet is not incredibly speedy, but he is creative. Marcos Senna intercepted a throwin in the attacking half (Jony Pereira closing down the intended target) and played the ball to Jeremy, who backheeled it to Jony, making a diagonal run. He was body-blocked by a Ponfe defender and both went down in a heap at the top of the box; Perbet calmly picked up the ball, turned, and steadied himself to rifle a hard left-footed shot across the keeper and into the top corner of the net.
It's true, Cavenaghi scored two goals on his Villarreal debut, our opening match, and ended up scoring only two other goals before being benched and eventually sold to a Mexican side. Granted, he was playing in a system built around more possession play than speedy attack, but he struggled to link up well with other attackers--plus his lack of mobility (or fitness, Marcelino seemed to think) meant he was fairly easy for defenders to mark in the box.
Perbet impressed not just with his finishing but also his positional play. Again, part of the positive vibe comes from Marcelino's style of play, but even though he is not a speed burner, he was able to link up well with Jony, Cani, and Moi.
Additionally, there is the question of motivation. Cavenaghi played well last year for River Plate, returning to his old club to lead them back to the Argentine first division. But although he had good things to say about Villarreal in public (see this interview published on Bordeaux's site, for example), Velásquez discarded him, and it's hard to see how he would have fit into Marcelino's style of play. Did he think the Segunda would be easier than it was, so didn't train as hard as he should have? Or was there something else off the pitch that resulted in him dropping out of our plans? Hard to know. But he certainly seemed to lose interest and motivation over the last few months.
One of the things I liked about the Perbet signing was that Jeremy clearly has motivation to perform well. His resume is interesting; he burst on the scene for a team in the lower divisions of France when quite young, then his career in that country stalled out. He headed to Belgium and performed well for a couple of lesser-known clubs, initially in the second division and then in the first.
This article makes interesting reading. It dates from February 2012, and the comments of Mons's coach are illuminating. Perbet "needs to feel loved", by his own admission, and his coach says a "family club" would be best for him. Sounds like a good fit for Villarreal, doesn't it.
What do you think? How many more goals will Jeremy score for us this season? And will we exercise our purchase option?