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La Liga Review: Villarreal Impressive In Win

Robert Lewandowski

Villarreal laid down a marker for the season with an impressive 2-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday to make it six points from six in LaLiga. Yeremy Pino opened the scoring in a tight encounter in the 73rd minute and Gerard Moreno sealed the points in stoppage time after summer signing Nahuel Molina was sent off on his home debut for Atletico.

The win will fuel belief that Unai Emery’s side can return to the Champions League. After reaching the semifinals of Europe’s elite competition last season, losing to Liverpool, Villareal will compete in only the Europa Conference League this time round after finishing seventh in LaLiga.

However, the top four should be within their reach this year. Pino is an exciting winger who now has the benefit of his debut campaign behind him, while Jose Luis Morales adds depth to their attack. Emery’s teams are usually well-coached and hard to break down, too. The key, though, will be keeping goal scorer Moreno fit.

It’s early days, but this win over Atletico, coupled with Sevilla’s slow start, has Villarreal in a good place.

Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Barcelona cruised to a 4-1 victory at Real Sociedad for their first win of the La Liga season.

Ansu Fati, the Spanish teenager who has been struggling to recover after a series of knee surgeries in the last two years, came off the bench in the second half and took charge of the game with two assists and a goal.

Sevilla won just three of their final 12 matches last season to go from being Real Madrid’s closest challengers for the title to hanging on to finish in the fourth and final Champions League place. That form has followed them into the new campaign after a difficult summer that saw them forced to sell both their centre-backs, with Diego Carlos joining Aston Villa and Jules Kounde moving to Barcelona.

After opening the season with defeat at Osasuna, they were lucky to get a draw at home to Real Valladolid this weekend. Anuar Tuhami had given Valladolid a surprise lead with 10 minutes to play only for a huge gaffe from goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to allow Karim Rekik to score a late equaliser. Rekik’s goal saved a point, but Sevilla, who lost winger Jesus “Tecatito” Corona last week to a leg injury, will need to improve substantially with coach Julen Lopetegui already under pressure.

The other story in La Liga this past weekend was penalties as we had SEVEN awarded on Saturday.The Celtic Vigo versus Real Madrid had three penalties in a dramatic match that saw the defending champions win 4-1.

There was another two penalties awarded in the Osasuna v Cádiz, while another two was awarded in the Mallorca v Real Betis game

That means we have had 10 penalties in two weeks of La Life football already. The only stat that jumps out is the five red cards that have been issued so far.