Nice win for Villarreal today in a match where we played most of the match with an extra man. The player of the first half—certainly protagonist of the first half—had to be Fer Niño. He scored our second goal (Yeremy Pino with an assist) and it was Fer’s ability to control and run past defender Aridane that led to the Osasuna man being sent off as the last man only 19 minutes into the match.
I don’t know if you can say a lot about our future plans without Iborra because so much of the match was played with Osasuna shorthanded, but we started out with Foyth as the CM and he was OK but clearly still working out what he needed to do there. Dani Parejo seemed pretty content to help out with ball control leaving Trigueros the most attacking of the midfielders (and he set up Gerard’s, and our, first goal).
Estupiñan returned to action but was subbed at HT; he had acres of space along his side but seemed tentative to me, and maybe that’s what Emery saw too. Moi came on and looked good (except he missed a sitter) but looked physically ready to start again, which is good news.
Osasuna got a gift from the referee when Yeremy won a header in the box but was deemed to have fouled someone or another going for the ball, but Ruben Peña (another sub) played a ball into the middle that Gerard finished off with a half-volley.
Overall, the penalty made the second half a bit more nervous than it had any right to be, but we got out of it OK. Jaume Costa, Alex Millan, and Samu Chukwueze were our other subs today; Kubo didn’t play at all.
25 points from 14 matches and 4th place at the moment (Sevilla with three games in hand though and 6 points back as I write this). Next up, we host Athletic Club on Tuesday at the Ceramíca. Endavant!!!