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Villarreal will be gunning for a first on Saturday

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And that is.......?

Villarreal CF v Granada CF - La Liga
José Angel in action for Villarreal against Granada, January 2017
Photo by fotopress/Getty Images

I am indebted to Aureli Sánchez and his excellent “Villarreal Vintage” blog for pointing out Villarreal’s record on opening days in the Primera División.

Believe it or not, we have not begun the season with a home win in the top tier. There is a bit of a caveat here, as in 19 previous seasons, we have only played our first match of the season at home three times. Why three home and 16 away? Well, part of the reason is that there have been several years (I can think of at least three) where we have asked that we begin the season on the road due to construction at the stadium, new pitch, etc.—and there was one year (2011-12) when we were supposed to open at home, but Jornada 1 was postponed due to some sort of disupte (I forget what, now) and so those matches were played in January instead.

Our overall record is 4-6-6 away, with our last win in August 2014 over Levante; at home, our record is 0-1-2. When we opened at home last year against Real Sociedad (we lost 2-1) that was our first home opener since September 2002, when we drew 2-2 with Osasuna. Our only other home opener pitted the newly promoted Villarreal against Rayo Vallecano in September 2000, and we lost 5-1!!

Now it is true that we opened our 2012-13 campaign at home, and we defeated Real Madrid Castilla 2-1 with goals from Cavenaghi, but that was in the Segunda, of course.

And one more piece of trivia—we have played Granada in round 1 of the league once before, down there in 2016, and drew 1-1. That’s all I got!!