Jeremy and I were correct that the match would be a draw, but our prediction of “goals in it” turned out to be wrong. For a 0-0 match, this was well-played and a fun watch.
Some quick takeaways:
(1) The general dynamic was as expected—Atleti looked to defend in depth and then get the ball forward to Morata and Felix, especially, when they could. For Villarreal, the problem was an inability to direct crosses and passes from the wings to a player in yellow; for Atleti, they defended well, but couldn’t be quite incisive enough in the counterattack.
(2) The referee let a lot of things go, on both sides—this was refereed more like a European or EPL match than the typical La Liga one. A lot of shirt-tugging on corners, a lot of ticky-tack fouls let go. Surprised we didn’t even get a look-in from VAR on a couple of them, all the same.
(3) Taking Moi out for Toko Ekambi was a mistake—the Cameroun international was really poor. He pushed a shot right to Oblak and made poor decisions when he had the ball. And I am not sure why Samu came off for Ontiveros with the match almost in injury time.
(4) Luis Enrique was in attendance and had to be impressed with Pau Torres, especially. Gerard Moreno worked very hard, Albiol was decent.
(5) Best players for me were Chukwueze, Anguissa, Pau, and Asenjo. I’d say Trigueros too though he sort of fell away after the hour mark. Gerard better than average.
Average: Iborra, Mario, Albiol, Quintillà, Moi, Morlanes.
Poor: Toko Ekambi.
No rating: Ontiveros.
(6) Best chances: For them, Joao Felix in first half—broke in on the right and scooped a shot over the gaping net with Asenjo beaten. Had a good chance in second half that Asenjo parried, too. For us, Trigueros in first half, and Samu (almost a carbon copy of Felix’s first-half opportunity) in the second.
Does this do anything one way or another as far as Calleja’s job is concerned? I doubt it; the effort was good but if we don’t get anything from our next away matches no one will remember it. A point is a point; now we have 19 after 16 matches, which is....not good.