After only two matches in the Champions League, Villarreal fans are wondering if our Champions League adventure is already over. "Adios a la Champions?", asks submarinoamarillo.net.
The EPM writers who generally cover Villarreal summarized the game succinctly. Jose Luis Lizzaraga focuses on the defensive problems we continue to have, noting that dropping Bruno back into central defense is an indication of that weakness (Garrido had Marchena and Mario warming up, but never used them).
His colleague lists five errors in the match--the second and third were responsible for the Napoli goals ("Christmas gifts"), but for me maybe the fourth on his list was equally important. Why Nilmar simply fired a quick shot after intercepting Cavani's backpass is beyond me--he had a great opportunity to take the ball around De Sanctis and either score, or force the keeper to pull him down and get sent off.
Villarreal supporter Abraham Guirao is similarly downbeat, and focuses more on individual players. Abrahán takes Garrido to task for naming the same back four as before, when the challenges Napoli provided were much different than Bilbao on Saturday.
It's difficult to argue with that given how Gonzalo's lack of pace was so cruelly exposed, but at the same time, if you had played Mario on the wing and brought Zapata inside, Lavezzi would have had a field day as well. We need a healthy Ángel, and we don't have him. He visited Dr. Cugat in Barcelona this week to try to figure out how to speed up his recovery, but still seems 3-4 weeks away according to what I've heard.
And, I'm afraid I have to report much criticism of de Guzmán from some of the more vocal sections of the fanbase as well. Without any preseason it's been asking a lot of him to play in the CL, but, as against Bayern, he struggled to adapt to how quickly CL opponents close you down when you have the ball. Twice last night he tried to dribble at the Napoli back three, and each time Gargano came back and won the ball with a fine challenge from behind.
We may not have always had attackers in dangerous positions, to be fair, but Villarreal's game is built around crisp through balls to attackers running into space behind the defense, and deGuzmán didn't provide those. And as I said in the recap, I don't understand him taking free kicks when Rossi and Senna could have done so. Not sure what that was about. And the same criticism could be made of Cani. He needed to step up in Borja's absence, and did not.
Garrido said we are continuing to improve and look better, but that's not worth much when you don't win.
Let's move on....
Valencia and Atletico Madrid are calling a league meeting to discuss TV rights, AS reports. Strange, I thought Del Nido tried to discuss that last meeting, and got no support from these two.
The Mallorca soap opera continues, with Michael Laudrup quitting after his assistant was fired. And believe it or not, apparently the de Guzmán transfer had something to do with it:
Latest is Laudrup accepted a buyout of half his remaining salary. The coach he succeeded, Manzano, had to go to court to get moneys owed him, but presumably this time Laudrup is getting a lump sum now.
Cristian Zapata has been called up by Colombia to play Bolivia on October 10. I am not happy about that, frankly, he needs more practice time with us.
Not only are Barcelona's new shirts incredibly ugly, they apparently are too absorbent:
For the final words, we go back to Italy. Of course Rossi can't foot on Italian soil without the local press trying to sign him up for a Serie A club--here is how he responded.
And for today's comedy act .... if we can't beat him, let's at least laugh at him. Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentis manages to toss in mentions of Messi and Villas Boas, and who knows what his idea for the CL is. Enjoy.