It was a good weekend for Villarreal’s second and third teams. Villarreal B defeated Valencia Mestalla (Valencia B) 1-0 in Valencia courtesy of a Rubén Mesa goal, and are now second in the table, a point behind Lleida Esportiu, and three points ahead of Herculés in third. The next game for the B-boys is January 5 at home to Badalona.
Villarreal C had a nice win as well, defeating Rayo Ibense 2-0 at the Mini Estadi. After a slow start (4 points from their first 6 matches), they have come on strong, and are currently seventh on 29 points, 3 away from the promotion zone. Their next match is away to Torre Levante (not related to Levante, the Primera team).
Of course, qualifying for the promotion playoffs won’t matter if the first team gets relegated, and our enforced idleness means we’re now in 18th place with a game in hand (albeit one against Real Madrid). The team returns to practice on December 29, hosting Madrid on the following Thursday, January 3, and then travelling to Eibar to play the early Sunday match.
With only fifteen points from sixteen matches and one point from safety, it’s already tempting to look at how many points teams have usually required to stay up. Last year was unusual in that three teams separated themselves (negatively) from the pack and stayed there—the 14-point difference between 18th place and 17th is unlikely to be repeated.
If I had to guess right now, I would say something like 38 to 40 points might be the cutoff, given that it’s now 16 points from 17 matches. It’s easy to see how Villarreal could pick that up if they manage to play anything like we thought they would at the start of the season, but it’s also easy to see them struggling if they can’t pick up home wins (the remainder of the season has 11 home matches and 11 away ones).
So far we know coach Luis García sees the need to strengthen defense—perhaps through finding someone to play a more defensive pivote with Santy Caseres, perhaps by signings. We await the opening of the January window, but expect Sansone to depart and Raba to be loaned away.
A Merry Christmas to all of you and let’s hope for a more successful 2019 for the boys in yellow!!