A Derbi de la Comunitat match between Villarreal and Valencia has seldom been so one-sided, to be honest. First half goals from Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno, the first assisted by Gerard, the second by Santi Cazorla, gave the Submarine a 2-0 win at the Ceramíca and its rows of cardboard fans. (Highlights, here).
Javi Calleja sent out the same group that drew with Sevilla, except for the enforced change of Xavi Quintillà in place of the suspended Alberto Moreno. Villarreal began to take control and had a lead within 13 minutes, courtesy of a Paco Alcacer volley, assisted by Gerard. Gerard hit the post with a header and Albiol went close as well before Villarreal added as beautiful a second goal as you will ever see—Sergio Asenjo came well outside his penalty area to deal with a Valencia clearance (we had just gone close to scoring off a corner kick). Santi Cazorla took Asenjo’s pass and weighted a perfect ball to Gerard, who volleyed it home. The ball never touched the ground until in the back of the net.
And that, for all intents and purposes, was that. Villarreal controlled the play very well in the second half but it was rather like a cat playing with a mouse. Bruno Soriano came on shortly after the hour mark for Iborra and got the chance to get in some game work. Perhaps Calleja could have subbed in someone like Fer, perhaps he could have taken a coupe of players out a little sooner, but the Submarine’s dominance was so significant that it was hard to find anything to complain about!
The stats told the story of pretty much total domination: 17 shots to 4 (none on target), Who Scored rating of 6.98 vs 6.12, Understat expected goals of 2.41 to 0.18.
Everyone in yellow played very well. Gerard’s assist and goal gave him the MOTM, but Santi was outstanding and Paco Alcacer had his best game in yellow, perhaps—he had 8 shots, 2 on target, and about three dozen touches before coming out late on. The back four was good, Asenjo had the one clearance that led to the goal, and very little else to do.
As for Valencia, they were playing on less rest than us, but there are clearly bigger issues going on with them. It was rumored Maxi Gomez got into a spat with coach Celades after the Eibar loss on Wednesday; Los Che have picked up only four points in five matches since the restart, and they have as many red cards (three) as goals. Their next matches are against Athletic Club and Granada—the two clubs just below them—and then they have Valladolid, Leganes and Espanyol before finishing at Sevilla. Not a bad run-in if they can turn things around.
Villarreal can’t rest on their laurels, though—they have a tough match at Betis (who lost to Levante today) before a sandwich of four games— Barcelona and Real Madrid as the bread, Getafe and Real Sociedad as the filling of your choice, with Eibar the last match of the season. It’ll be interesting. Endavant Villarreal!!