Villarreal Femenino are getting ready for their debut in the new Primera season, which was scheduled for this Saturday at 16:00 local time against Real Madrid, but due to the referee strike, the first jornada has been postponed.
The referees are on strike due to their laboral conditions. With the professionalization of the league, they are arguing they should get more than 300€ to 600€ per match, especially if you consider that DAZN have acquired the TV rights for the next 5 seasons at 35 million euros.
In the meantime, Villarreal have made some new signings, along with some expected departures, while others were less expected. Here are all of the movements.
The loss of Salma will hopefully be catered for with the goals of Kanteh, but overall the team has lost some players that gained promotion to Primera.
Bea Prades, Laura Royo, Salma and Oprea among others have departed, while there hasn’t been too much depth added in the transfer market. Perhaps this means that some B players that are in the plans, as Vera Rico will get more minutes to shine and finally earn the first team shirt.
The pre-season started with the International Tournament of L’Alcudia, known as COTIF. Villarreal were in the group stage with Mislata and SPAL, both teams from Primera Nacional (the 4th tier of Spanish football), winning Mislata 4-1 (Ainoa, Cienfu, Vera Rico and Belén) and SPAL by a 0-6 (Sheila x2, Lara Mata, Llompi and Belén from a penalty).
Next, Villarreal eliminated Elche (another Primera Nacional side) by 1-0 (Estefa), ending the tournament with the final win against the national team of Argentina by 1-2 (Sheila x2).
After the tournament, the team continued with a string of friendlies against Valencia (1-1), Levante (2-2), Osasuna (victory by 1-2), again against Valencia (victory by 0-1), Alavés (loss by 1-0) and Espanyol (1-1).
In total, they saw 2 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss, playing against Primera rivals Osasuna and Espanyol, who are playing in the Segunda (named as Primera Federación)
The season of Primera will likely be similar to last season with Barcelona being dominant, as they seem to have put together the most competitive squad looking into arrivals and departures, while other teams may suffer a lot.
Considering how Villarreal has fared, and seeing where others are, I think 10th seems to be the position we should be aiming for.
That would put the team comfortably away from the relegation spots, which are again the 15th and 16th, while the access to the UEFA Women’s Champions League will be the 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
It’s a lot more difficult to earn those spots, but I think Villarreal are on the path to earn them in the near future.