Unrelated to anything in my topic today, the cover photo of this article is from 2011 because when I typed in ‘Villarreal Mallorca’ into the image search bar I got really excited to see a pick of relatively young Santi with hair. So pardon the photo. Lol
Many moons ago, when this season was temporarily suspended, we were sitting on a three game losing streak. We fell apart against Atleti after a good start, we played badly on offense and had calls go against us (thanks Gil) against Athletic Club, and then we came out flaccid against Leganes, probably the worst team in the division, and lost that match as well. Our first two matches from the break will be Celta Vigo and Mallorca, placed 17th and 18th in the table, and if we maintain any aspirations of getting something out of this season both of them must be wins.
We’ll remember that the discussion before soccer (and everything else) shut down was centered on our manager and whether bad underlying numbers in things like xG and xA were harbingers of disaster. The quality of Atleti and the referee decisions in the Athletic match muddied the waters as to whether we were on a genuine slide or simply had some bad luck. A win against Leganes would have seen us just one point out of 7th, but it never came. Now, the situation is a dire one. To make it back to European competition, 7th place is a bare minimum. If 10th place Athletic win the Copa Del Rey, we’ll need to get to 6th, and that’s seven points away. As a club we do not have the luxury of easing our way back into football, we need to strike quickly and ruthlessly and take six points out of six in these first two matches.
As much as we have all looked forward to football coming back, the reality is that if we don’t win both these first two games, we are basically resigned to playing exhibition matches the rest of the season. For me, not even this months long disruption of the season is valid cover for the manager if we come out flat and kill off our season so quickly on the return. We’ve all waited too long for football to return for it to all fall apart within days of it coming back, so let’s hope the boys are ready.