Villarreal will host Real Valladolid on Saturday, trying for their second win in succession—something the Yellow Submarine didn’t accomplish last campaign until we were entering the final third of the season.
Looking at Villarreal’s results in La Liga since Sr. Calleja returned, we have 31 points from 21 matches, which equates to about 56 over the course of a 38-game season. I believe he had 13 points from 14 matches in 2018-19 before being replaced (and then we had 4 points from 6 matches under Luis Garcia Plaza).
The Leganes win was also our first clean sheet of the season, and the 7th under Calleja in those 21 matches since returning. It’s early yet, but a win against the Pucela in the Ceramica would vault us into the top eight or so and give us some confidence as we prepare to visit the Camp Nou.
But I know the question all of you are wondering—and the claim for the “well-behaved Villarreal”, is, when was the last time Villarreal played a league match and received no yellow or red cards? It didn’t happen last season; you have to go back to the next-to-last match of the 2017-18 season, when Villarreal won at Deportivo 4-2 and referee Alejandro Hernandez handed out three cards to the home side and none to us.
In fact, Levante and Villarreal have each received only 6 yellows as a team in their first five matches. (Athletic Club and Granada are next with seven yellows and no reds). Compare that to Getafe’s 15 yellows—no surprise—or Betis’s 10 yellows and 3 reds. Gone are the days when finishing top of the disciplinary charts gave you an entry into the Intertoto Cup, or something similar, but not having to deal with suspensions is a joy in and of itself!