Villarreal have picked up their first points of the season, securing a 1-0 victory away at RCD Mallorca, courtesy of a Gerard Moreno second-half goal.
It was a tough battle at San Moix, with Villarreal initially struggling to build rhythm and create chances despite the attacking lineup picked by Quique Setien.
Alex Baena and Ben Brereton Diaz impressed in the first half, and Villarreal started to push forward more.
The Yellow Submarine finally found the breakthrough when a corner saw the ball fired towards Predrag Rajkovic, who parried it out to Gerard, who tapped in for the only goal of the game.
Mallorca started pushing forward, leaving more space in behind which substitute Etienne Capoue tried to take full advantage off, but Villarreal could not find a second goal to make the victory more comfortable.
Given the sales this summer, and the poor defeat to Real Betis last week, this is a big three points for Villarreal, who are now up and running in La Liga, and this new-look side will clearly take some time to adapt.
Striker Alex Sorloth took some time to get into the game, but whilst he was poor in front of goal, his hold-up play proved useful at times in the second half.
Matteo Gabbia was quite impressive at the back next to Jorge Cuenca before being replaced by Raul Albiol. It was a strong debut from the Italian, who joined from AC Milan this summer.
Denis Suarez dropped a promising cameo off the bench on his return to the club, with his strong passing ability helping Villarreal create openings on the counterattack late on.
Ramon Terrats had a quiet game, and Capoue’s excellent performance off the bench does give Setien a decision to make over his midfield selection for the next game.
Brereton Diaz made his long-anticipated La Liga bow, and whilst he could not find the back of the net, his energy and passing vision were excellent at times, and there will be a lot of excitement about what is to come from him.
Gerard Moreno did not have his best game before the goal. The Spaniard looked a bit short of confidence when on the ball, and did not look fully fit. Nevertheless, the goal gave him a boost as he immediately improved, and his strike has now made him Villarreal’s top scorer, ever.
Whilst it wasn’t the prettiest win, it was very important to secure a tough victory on the road, and it is clear that the new signings will take some time to fully adjust before Villarreal are fully oiled going forward. There were a lot of encouraging signs despite the slow start.
Securing a clean sheet will hopefully give goalkeeper Nicolai Jorgensen some confidence. He didn’t have too much to do in terms of saves, but keeping his composure in a tough ground, where Villarreal lost last season, was encouraging.
Next up, Villarreal host the Champions Barcelona at Estadio De La Ceramica.