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Villarreal have Valencia and Real Sociedad coming up on their preseason schedule

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Things ramp up for Unai Emery’s side as they prepare for La Liga.

Villarreal v Tenerife - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Villarreal did not acquit themselves particularly well against Tenerife. The Canary Islands side was more motivated and capitalized on our (more specifically, on Pau’s) mistakes. Oh well, no reason to be bothered by it. Preseason results do not matter. What matters is a new manager figuring out what he has and how to use it, and players sharpening fitness before live matches start.

In the next week or so, we have one more weak opponent before things scale up against Real Sociedad. We face relegation fodder Valencia on the 28th and Real Sociedad on the second of September.

These clubs are having radically different summers in the transfer market, as La Real moved from strength to strength bringing in David Silva to replace Martin Ødegaard. The guano club, meanwhile, has seen a full sale exodus (that we’ve been assured isn’t a fire sale) over the summer with Rodrigo (Leeds), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Garay (free agent), and of course Coquelin and Parejo all moving on to healthier football environments (Garay included, it’s better to be unemployed and able to look for gainful employment than to be playing for Valencia at the moment). That’s over 10,000 minutes of first team play in the league from last season gone already, with time left in the window for more departures.

I expect Emery’s tactical ideas to take a little more shape in these next two matches. We didn’t even bother starting two CBs against Tenerife as Unai simply tried to give as many people minutes as possible. We still aren’t sure what formation he is going to prefer or (most curious to me) what midfield pairing. These are the sorts of things I’ll watch, not the results. After all, La Liga’s reigning champ lost to their local rivals 7-2 last preseason, and that didn’t seem to matter. Instead, focus on tactical ideas, good health, and growing familiarity between the managers and players, so that when La Liga starts we can hit the ground running.