After last week’s loss to Getafe, clearly Villarreal needs to prioritize the league match on Sunday against Athletic Club, so it was no surprise when Luis García Plaza fielded a rather experimental lineup against Espanyol.
Well, it didn’t work, though whether anyone really cares, I don’t know. Villarreal gave up two penalties in three minutes in the first half—the first, on canterano Pepe Castaño, was at least questionable, the second, on El Tri international Layún, wasn’t.
Samu Chukwueze made things closer with a goal before halftime; in the second half the Submarine huffed and puffed but eventually Espanyol scored off a corner and that was that.
Samu and Dani Raba had some first-half quality but then faded, Carlos Bacca was rather subdued, while the Fuego Effect (tm) was in full flow as Javi played the entire match.
With Atleti out and Barcelona’s progress questionable because of a possible rules infraction, maybe we should feel bad about not progressing, but...no. We need wins in the league.