Villarreal v Sevilla—Post FCB Team of the World edition
The big two decided to keep playing this season after their epic confrontation on Monday. The RFEF tried to screw FCB (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=849293&sec=europe&cc=5901)
but to no avail, as the Blaugrana showed up to
Villarreal continued their quest to be the best of the rest in La Liga. Their opponents at El Madrigal were a Sevilla team who had seen the Manzano effect wear off, as they had returned to their inconsistent form. They came into the match in ninth position, looking for three points that would put them in European positions, I had not seen Sevilla play an entire match this season, so this was my first look at them this campaign.
Both teams played midweek in the Europa League. The form guide revealed that both teams had 100% records after these fixtures, so there was nothing to separate the teams in that regard. Villarreal have 6 wins and 1 draw in the league at home, while Sevilla are average on their travels, with 3 wins and 4 losses. The only ray of hope for Los Rojiblancos was the fact that they had won 3 of the last 4 fixtures against the Yellow Submarine.
As for team news, Capdevila was not expected to play a part for Villarreal, while Jesus Navas and Luis Fabiano were out through injury for Sevilla. With Luis Fabiano creating a good partnership with Kanoute, both having four goals each, this did not bode well for Los Sevillistas.
Villarreal 1 - 0 Sevilla FC Estadio El Madrigal (21,000)
The first half was scrappy but exciting. Villarreal played their usual 4-4-2 with Bruno and Marcos Senna holding in midfield and Nilmar and Rossi up top. Sevilla played a 4-5-1 with Romaric and Zokora holding and Kanuote on his own up top. Both teams were eager to get forward but Sevilla lacked Villarreal’s quality in the final third. Also, both teams got stuck in so the chippy factor climbed as the match continued.
Cazorla got off to a great start, constantly drifting centrally and swapping sides with Cani to create confusion in the Sevilla midfield and defense. Cani was not really a factor until a mazy run 13’ in and no PK was given. As Villarreal saw more and more of the ball, Kanoute became more and more isolated, and he was lucky not to be sent off. He got a yellow on 41’ for a dangerous challenge, then took a whack at Musacchio, which the ref saw but did not card.
Villarreal created several dangerous chances and Nilmar opened the scoring on 30’ when YEAGAH BAWMBS put him in and the Brazilian dribbled Palop to score from a difficult angle. Sevilla continued to press but their final touch let them down.
The second half started with no changes. Just a few minutes into the half, Sevilla executed a free kick and there were 3 or 4 Sevilla players alone in the penalty area. The ball was squared to Kanoute, who scored but was flagged for offside, which pretty much summed up his day.
Los Sevillistas varied their lines of confrontation and did better in possession and then made a double substitution after ten minutes—Capel and Negredo for Romaric and Jose Carlos—which changed their shape to a 4-4-2. While the formation was more attacking, it actually seemed to take Kanoute even more out of the game. Capel was poor for the most part. He provided width but couldn’t beat anyone one v one.
Zokora should have been sent off on 62 minutes when he stepped on Senna’s heel, but was lucky to escape sanction. He would eventually be subbed off by Alfaro with five minutes remaining in the match. Valero came on for Cazorla with 25 minutes to go, which was surprising because Cazorla was having a fine game and Valero really should have come on for Cani. Surely the second and third goals would have come.
The last ten minutes saw end to end stuff and several substitutions. Diego Lopez denied Sevilla defender Navarro on 81’. Then Alexis denied Rossi, who had skipped away from the Sevilla defense. This was followed by Negredo having a goal chalked off for a close offside decision. For team changes, Capdevila came on for Cani, which was about 80 minutes too late and Rossi came off with five minutes to go. He had another stellar game, and if you have not seen him play, make an appointment. His sub was Reuben, who was terrible. I’m not sure how he gets on instead of Altidore.
In the end, the Yellow Submarine deserved the three points in a game that was high on energy and physical play (38 fouls and 6 yellow cards) but low on quality. With the win, Villarreal go back to third on 30 points, two ahead of Espanyol and five behind Real Madrid.
The rest of the league
Levante 2 - 0 Atlético Madrid Ciutat de
Osasuna 0 - 3
Espanyol 1 - 0 Sporting
Málaga 4 - 1 Racing
Real Sociedad 2 - 0 Athletic
3 Villarreal 14 30
4 Espanyol 14 28
6 Real Sociedad 14 22