After this week without a match, Villarreal can reflect on how far they are of their objective of gaining promotion. Having surpassed the half of the season, they are 17 points ahead of the cut-off which will regroup this South grouping with the A group to battle for the promotion spot. No team is getting the results of Villarreal having gotten 27 points in 10 matches and 23 goals scored for 6 conceded. The closest team to them is the leader of the A group with 24 points in 10 matches with 18 goals scored and 6 conceded. They have been steamrolling most of their opposition and if not, they have always managed to at least earn the three points barring their only loss so far.
Part of that is their way of playing. A 4-4-2 in diamond that helps to either play short passes or go for a long pass to Salma.
Against Femarguín in their last match, on a really windy day, they showed a great effort although you can also see that not having Sheila on the field can be damaging. For the early minutes of the match, was mainly looking for the long ball to Salma, most of the time from the right flank via Yeni, showing that they had some problems developing the play inside. Femarguín was also doing a good job of giving them the easy passes to the outside and cutting any pass inside, helped by the fact they were playing the same formation. Even with that, Salma had a good chance that went near the post.
As the match went on, Villarreal spent more and more time inside the rival field, dominating the ball but without clear scoring chances. Doing that can let you in for a counterattack in case you lose it, which was how the best chance for Femarguín appeared. Elena had to came out from the goal to try to force a difficult shot, was dribbled but the rival didn’t manage to slot it in, thus earning a corner thanks to the Olivia who managed to block the attempt.
Still tied, Villarreal tried some differences as Salma dropping a bit, leaving Rubí Soto as the sole striker, to try to create an advantage that could allow for an inside pass and create the chance. Femarguín defended as well as they could, in a low block aiming for counterattacks when getting the ball and without any complication when playing the ball. The state of the match just showed that it needed some changes, and Sara Monforte made good of it at the halftime changing Arce and Yeni for Albeta and Cienfuegos. This also changed the defense, putting Olivia on the right and Albeta to the left.
The changes showed were the correct ones, Lara Mata recovered a ball from a throw-in, pass it to Albeta who saw Salma up running between the defenders, putting a great pass and Salma just needed to control and put it in with 9 minutes played of the second half. It was also her 10th goal so far this season, showing that with the loss of Aixa, she has stepped up as the lead goalscorer of the team.
The match continued with the dominance of Villarreal, but wasn’t managing to turn the dominance into another goal. This lead to another change, with Laura Royo entering for Rubí Soto. All in all, the second half was showing that it was a match for Villarreal and only needed a bit of luck to get the ball in. Cienfuegos scored but the goal was disallowed due to a foul
Villarreal continues at the top and next match is at home against Alhama in what can be the match to confirm their participation in the promotion group mathematically.