The Yellow Submarine come away from Granada with a much-needed three points, but Los Nazaríes pushed Pacheta’s side to the absolute limit on Monday evening.
As expected, the Yellows lined up with a different formation and set of players to the draw against Alavés, as Altimira, Gabbia, Baena and Alberto Moreno came into the side and started in a new 4-4-2 shape.
The game started off in the same way that it would continue, end-to-end. Granada boasted extreme pace going forward and quality on the transition, with Villarreal’s defence struggling to cope with the pressure, while the away side carefully picked Granada’s backline apart with intricate movements.
The momentum was suddenly swung in the favour of the Yellow Submarine, as Sørloth showed astonishing skill on the ball down the left-hand side and drilled the ball into Gerard Moreno, who finished intelligently at the near post.
The floodgates opened at this point, as Sørloth was brought down in the box and Gerard Moreno would convert the ensuing penalty, earning himself a brace. Sørloth would then turn from the provider to the scorer, as he blasted a ball into the far corner from the edge of the box in trademark fashion.
It didn’t take long for Granada to respond, however, as Ricard and Uzuni both netted in quick succession, capitalising on Villarreal switching off at the back. Both sides continued to create chances as the half approached its culmination, but Villarreal went into the interval a goal better off.
Granada continued making chances into the second half, but Villarreal slowed the game down as much as they could and attempted to asphyxiate the home side. The first-half praise should be definitely given to the attackers, but Jörgensen was the hero in the second period, saving his team when they needed him most, on multiple occasions.
Eighteen Granada shots later (producing an expected goal rating of 2.27), the final whistle blew and the scoreline remained as it was left at half-time. The Villarreal players were puffing out their cheeks and were undoubtedly relieved to reach the end of the game, but the most important thing is the three points.
It is unquestionably a step in the right direction for Pacheta’s side, who have been feeling the pressure in recent weeks, but things still have to be done to solve the defensive issues that still persist on the pitch.