Greetings groguets. Well, I woke up this morning feeling we should have gotten more from the match yesterday against Málaga. To start with, having seen the Martin Demichelis challenge on Marco Ruben again (I thought at the time it was more Ruben slipping than tumbling from the challenge) I am agreeing with Marco that he should have been awarded a penalty. (So say all the papers as well, and so says Santi Cazorla too, not that he was that close to it at the time).
A couple of good recaps of the game, one highlighting the role of Borja Valero especially in the first half and the fact that Villarreal is playing much better:
Match Report: Plenty of entertainment as Málaga defeat Villarreal | Spanishfootball.info
and another one with lots of chalkboards and arrows, a good tactical analysis of what happened:
MALAGA 2-1 VILLARREAL Tactical analysis | elcentrocampista.com
The big talking point (apart from the penalty) was manager Juan Carlos Garrido's removal of Jonathan de Guzmán so early in the second half and his replacement by 17-year-old Moisés Gómez, up from the C team. He impressed in his time out there; he started slow but gained in confidence as the game continued, and if Joselu Moreno had been able to convert his pass from a tight angle in injury time...for his part, Moisés said he just tried to be himself and do his best.
That move was a tactical gamble that nearly paid off, but otherwise the coach's failure to introduce Joselu until the game was nearly over gets some attention. In my opinion he should have come on at least when Jeremy Toulalan was sent off, if not before; I defer to those who can draw all the diagrams, but my sense was Borja was far more effective in the first half as Málaga sat back and clogged things more as the game continued and we needed more options to help Ruben.
Overall, though, we did look better for long stretches, and if we had had Nilmar and Rubén Cani out there (never mind Giuseppe Rossi), I feel we would have taken at least one point, possibly three yesterday. Which begs the question of what the roles of de Guzmán, Hernán Pérez, and Ruben will be once those two return.
Finally, as for Borja, word is that 'Arry Redknapp is "tracking" him (whatever that means) and might make a bid for him this summer or even this winter. I don't see anything happening in January and would hope by the summer we're in the European places and have no desire to sell Borja on. But rumors are always interesting.
Next up for the first team is a winnable match away to Racing Santander. Let's continue to build on the positives from yesterday's loss, because there were some. Endavant Villarreal!!