Villarreal can consider themselves fortunate to come away with a point from Eibar after a scrappy 0-0 draw in the morning kickoff. Highlights are here. Eibar are a veteran team and they know what they want to do and do it well, and after the first couple of minutes they were pretty much in control of this one.
Eibar’s high pressure and workrate could’ve created a goal or two in the first half, but the end product was lacking. After the break? Two excellent saves—the last one astonishing—in the first 15 minutes of the half, sandwiched around Villarreal’s best opportunity, a Santi cross that Gerard couldn’t quite deflect past the keeper.
The home side had chances late and Ramiro Funes Mori had to block a shot off the line in the last minute of regulation, and even as the game ended, Eibar had a chance from a corner but the shot went at Asenjo without a lot of power. Villarreal’s only opportunity of note came when Carlos Bacca steamed down the right but shot from a tight angle rather than pass the ball back to Samu or Toko Ekambi.
For all of Luis García Plaza’s carping about the quick turnaround, he made surprisingly few changes in our lineup. Santi Cazorla and Santy Caseres both started, and (of course) Gerard up top. The only changes were the enforced ones—Pedraza for Jaume Costa and Funes Mori for Alvaro—while Mario, who had been suspended for the Real Madrid match, replaced Layún.
Funes Mori had one of his better matches, for what that was worth, while Pedraza was something of a duel threat—excellent plays but also mistakes. One thing we’ve seen before is that Pedraza and Santi are not a good combination together, and that was true today, especially since Santi, understandably, seemed a bit fatigued after Thursday’s excitements. Fornals and Caseres were below par as well, so that, combined with the continued mystifying mediocrity of Gerard, contributed to us being outshot 24-7.
Still, a point is a point. I’ll feel better about it if Alvaro stays benched, and Gerard, is, for our next league match, against Getafe. Next up, Espanyol in the Copa on Wednesday. Endavant.