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Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid: immediate reaction

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Villarreal CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

A wild game at the Ceramica, as we expected. I’m surprised how my prediction for both score and key Madrid player turned out to be correct (https://www.managingmadrid.com/2019/8/31/20841850/villarreal-scouting-report-q-a-2019). Maybe Calleja should have asked the team to read it.

Anyway—Villarreal will certainly feel this is a game they could and should have won. I certainly feel that way. The second Real Madrid goal was very soft—and on the first our defense was poor.

Both teams bombed forward and left oceans of space for the others to counter. Villarreal did not make the most of that—-we weren’t able to string passes together between defense and attack consistently. On the other hand, when our attacks broke down, Madrid frequently had players wide open, as our strategy was to get behind the ball and regroup. Madrid’s Plan A was to cross the ball into the box, which they did frequently, but while they created some decent chances, they didn’t finish them. Their two goals came from play on the ground down our left.

Our two goals came from a play set up by a Sergio Ramos turnover (always feels good to say that) and nicely finished off by Ekambi and Gerard, and Madrid fans will probably be blaming their defense too for no one picking up Moi. But hey.

Villarreal’s defense continues to crumble at key moments. I don’t know if I agree with people who say nothing has changed compared to last year, but we have had six leads this season and retained none of them. This Villarreal edition can play some lovely attacking football and is certainly fun to watch, but if you can’t get results, it doesn’t matter.

Calleja’s subs were good ones—-if not for the Ontiveros turnover and Madrid equalizing there, we would be praising them all. Santi had an off day and Samu’s speed was successfully neutralized by Mendy (I have to admit I was wrong about Samu would find lots of space). Anguissa was excellent and even threw in a couple of Bruno-type languid turns before passing the ball, Bacca ran well and occupied space too (winning a header set up our second goal).

MOTM—Tough call. I will go with Gerard, but Moi or Pau have claims too.

Looking forward—now a week off before away to Leganes on the 14th. Win that, and we have 5 points from 4 matches, not terrible considering Madrid was in there. Lose it, and we are in the relegation zone and Calleja will be on the hot seat again. No pressure there.