The La Liga schedule has been released, and you can see it here.
Villarreal’s first 9 matches are as follows: (the dates are the dates of the weekend, specific dates and times for each match haven’t been created yet):
1 Sept 13 Huesca (home)
2 Sept 20 Eibar (home)
3 Sept 27 Barcelona (away)
4 Sept 30 Alaves (home)
5 Oct 4 Atletico Madrid (away)
6 Oct 18 Valencia (home)
7 Oct 25 Cadiz (away)
8 Nov 1 Real Valladolid (home)
9 Nov 8 Getafe (away)
Another international break follows, and we host Real Madrid on Nov 22 to begin again.
Villarreal often opens up against a newly promoted side, and so it is this time, though we have a home match in Jornada 1 for the second season in a row, which is unusual for us.
Sidarth pointed out that with the early international breaks and a short preseason we might expect this to be a year where Villarreal builds form over the season, rather than say a quick start like we had in 2010-11. If that’s so, then the fact we play Barcelona and Atleti in the first five matchdays, and Real Madrid in round 10, might not be a good thing.
However, we all know that results against the big three are typically not so important for us. How well we do against the “teams we should beat” is, and how we play against our direct rivals for Europe is as well. So in that sense, the opening doesn’t look too bad.
The key for us in this stretch is our first five home matches: four of these are against teams that were in the bottom half of the table last year or were promoted. Valencia is the only exception, and their summer has been full of turmoil with a new coach and various player departures.
The away matches have two where we wouldn’t expect much (Barca and Atleti) though given Barcelona’s travails this summer, maybe playing there early is not so bad. Cadiz away is against a newly promoted side, while Getafe is really the first away match against a potential rival for positions 4 through 6 in the table, I should have thought.
Out of the 27 points, I would say more than 19 would be great, less than 13 would be not great at all, and 14-18 would be sort of middling. What do you think?