Villarreal Femenino will start the season this coming Sunday against Sporting Huelva. The biggest news are that Aixa Salvador has returned to the team after playing last season with Betis in Primera. An interesting return when the team seemed to be finished, which adds more depth in the forward positions.
The preseason for the team has been a good mix of results, they have won four matches and the Teika Trophy, tied one and lost one, plus the two mini-matches (45 minutes each one) from the Teika Trophy where they tied against Levante and won against Valencia. Here are the matches in chronological order:
Villarreal 4-1 Castellón (Belén, Vera Rico x2, Raquel Pinel)
Villarreal 3-1 Fundación Albacete (Tere Morató, Sheila x2)
Levante 6-1 Villarreal (Vera Rico)
Villarreal 2-2 Osasuna (Lara Mata, Laura Royo)
Valencia 0-1 Villarreal (Lara Mata)
Espanyol 1-2 Villarreal (Tere Morató x2)
Teika Trophy: Villarreal 1-1 Levante, 2-3 in penalties (Tere Morató); Villarreal 2-0 Valencia (Sheila x2)
The mix of teams in the friendlies are a top team in Primera (Levante), an up-and-comer in Valencia, who is more recently lost in the shuffle, and three Segunda teams, all aiming for promotion: Castellón, Funda Albacete and Osasuna. Both Sheila and Tere Morató have scored the most goals with 4.
Now to the prediction. The league will be a battle between mainly Barcelona and Real Madrid. Barça keeps most of their roster from last season, like the pichichi Jenni Hermoso, Alexia (2021 UEFA Player) or Sandra Paños, the best keeper in Spain. Madrid, in the meantime, have been buying players right from left, and added to their roster strikers as Esther (2nd in top scorer table last season) or Nahikari. The next UEFA WCL spot should be for a Levante side that keeps most of the roster from last season too. While they have lost key players as Zornoza and Rocío Gálvez (Madrid), Banini (Atleti), they have signed Leire Baños and Mendoza from Real, and acquire through a loan Gio Queiroz, a promising prospect from Barcelona.
But, where will Villarreal be? Well, seeing their results, the match against Sporting is a must-win, as it’s one of the team trying to avoid relegation. I think Villarreal will manage to end in the mid-table, as their team is as good as most of the low-tables teams, but without losing top strikers as Sporting (Dany Helena left for Flamengo), Madrid CFF (Priscila Borja retired), Eibar (Kgatlana signed with Atleti) or Betis (Oriana is now with Valencia).