Four draws in four games contemplate Villarreal, who does quite a few things well, but has not just turned on the light in front of the rival goal. In three of those duels he was left to zero, both in his goal and in the opposite. It happened again in Palma, where a pleasant football morning was enjoyed without a signature, a melee in which two styles litigated. Villarreal wanted to grow from the short game, touch and support. Mallorca was more of a team to the extent that it could run. That was how he scored a goal with ten minutes remaining, but Albiol was alive in the yellow command to take a saving step forward that put North American forward Hoppe offside.
Mallorca could win, it would not have been fair at all. He suffered minutes not of submission, but of a certain discomfort. The team trained by Luis García-Plaza had, however, a value, a recently promoted team that was opposed to one that plays the Champions League, and that is that he knew what game he had to play, he understood it and interpreted it, comfortable in the retreat and with a lot of fang when the spaces were opened and it came out at full speed. Mallorca were brave and daring on the run, but above all they have found a path that takes them away from the one they traveled when they lost the category two seasons ago: in the first three league games they have barely conceded goals in two of them.
It was a game of attrition. Perhaps there are better times to play a game in Mallorca when summer is still on the calendar. There were no superb opportunities for the goalkeepers to show off. Danjuma and Dia aimed from the beginning, but there were always defenders willing to block their shots. Mallorca’s best responses came as soon as they returned from rest. He found fluency with Amath and Dani Rodríguez and seemed to bring the game to his ground, that of the gallop away from the prizes exhibited by his rival, more prone to elaboration.
Unai Emery then took the floor as only those coaches who want to be heard do. He called four relays, put them on the field and changed the sign of the game. In short, he regained control. Basketball classics called these types of maneuvers “American changes.” Contemporary football allows those swings and Emery is there to squeeze the regulation to the fullest.
Dani Parejo entered, Yéremi Pino accompanied him and Moi Gómez began to evolve from within, close to them. The connection changed to Villarreal, who held the reins of the horse. The other poker plan that Emery envied, that of looking for the speed of Alberto Moreno and the auction of Paco Alcácer, without minutes in the previous days, was more blurred. Mallorca folded, threw the keys into the sea and Villarreal not only could not find them but again went through trouble when the game moved towards its climax. A goal from Hoppe could have arrived, who was more attentive to asking for the ball than to monitor his position with respect to the closing of the yellow defense, the expert Albiol, who exhibited chevrons in a decisive play in which he did not need the ball to display his talent defensive.
The final draw pleased Mallorca more, which already has eight points and has the prospect of a visit to the Bernabéu on Wednesday, than Villarreal, who has neither won nor lost in the four games they have played, with the duel against him. Alavés postponed. And accumulating draws is harmful when the aspirations are to climb the rankings to the top.
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