Villarreal still are looking for their first win in this Iparua ground, but at least the Submarine picked up a point with a 1-1 draw against Eibar today.
The home side took an early lead with a goal from Arruabarrena in the 7th minute, following a free kick that wasn't cleared well by our defense. And after that, Eibar hardly attacked from open play, preferring to sit back and defend and try to win free kicks from quick counterattacks.
The referee, one of the Teixera Veitines brothers, was terrible. His criteria for yellow cards was unclear and he missed a number of obstructions, mostly on Eibar defenders. Consequently, we looked very unsettled in the first half--Uche was continually dispossessed and/or fouled when with the ball, and Tomas Pina picked up an early yellow.
Cheryshev loked dangerous on the wing, but Uche and Gerard weren't presenting many opportunities for good chances, and the Eibar defense looked fairly comfortable overall. Pina was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after a couple of fouls late in the first half.
HT Eibar 1-0 Villarreal
As expected, Pina's day ended with Bruno coming on for him. Vietto replaced Uche, which was slightly surprising--most thought Gerard would be the one to come off. Eibar were content to defend, defend, defend, and though Villarreal huffed and puffed, not much was happening. But with 20 minutes left Villarreal won a free kick, Bruno took it quickly and passed to Gerard Moreno in the box, and he put a ball across the Eibar keeper and into the net.
Villarreal really could (and should) have won it after that--for one of the few times all day Luciano Vietto found himself with the ball in space but keeper Irureta parried his shot to safety. In injury time Vietto had another chance saved, and Eibar survived.
FT Eibar 1-1 Villarreal
Insights from this one: my main takeaway is if were a mid-table team, we would have lost this. If we were definitely Champions League material, we would have won. So....
Gerard scored a golazo, but otherwise didn't do much. Still, sometimes a goal poacher is what you need. Vietto was very quiet until that goal, then had a couple of chances.
Jonathan dos Santos and Bruno together in the pivote: IMMENSE.
Gabriel and Musacchio were very fine indeed, and Cheryshev worked hard and was fouled multiple times. Was lucky to stay on the pitch when committing a deliberate handball when on a yellow, though.
I'm thinking Pina may be on the move in January because I don't see him getting a lot of playing time with J Two Saints, Bruno and Trigueros in the pivote.
Villarreal now take a break from the "Otra Liga" (a/k/a the "Other 18") since we get to welcome Real Madrid to El Madrigal. As if the visitors needed any advantage, they have an extra day of rest. Hey, let's enjoy it, compete and see how we do, but we all know that unless Madrid are off their game.....
8 points from 5 matches, and likely 8 from 6, with Barca and Madrid home games done. Would feel better with 10, but it's early yet. Endavant Villarreal!!