5 biggest fixtures for Villarreal in the 2022-23 La Liga season
La Liga has announced the fixture list for the 2022/23 season. The campaign will begin on August 14th, with the Yellow Submarines playing against Valladolid away. It will then end on June fourth, with El Submarí Groguet hosting Atletico at the Estadio de la Cerámica. The first Derbi de la Comunitat takes place at the Estadio de la Cerámica on the last day of the year and the second one takes place at the Mestalla on May 3rd.
If fans in Europe were sleeping on Unai Emery’s Villarreal before, they are not doing so now. The Yellow Submarine have not been particularly impressive in La Liga recently, but they have always fought hard in the league.
In Europe, they reached the Champions League semi-finals last season after winning the Europa League against Manchester United in 2020/21 to qualify for the continent’s premier competition. However, they were off colors in the league last season, finishing seventh with just 16 wins from 38 games, but with no UEFA Champions League commitments this season they would like to again do well in the league to solidify their chances for a top-four finish in the upcoming season.
Although the schedule for the upcoming season has been announced, the exact dates of the games have only been set until October. The World Cup in Qatar in the middle of the season will complicate matters further and dates will thus change. However, we more or less know when the rest of the matches of the campaign will be set, as the Yellow Submarines look to win their maiden league title ever.
So let’s examine the biggest matches of the upcoming season for Villarreal, taking a look at the five most important fixtures based on the opponent –
#5 Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal – 21st August
Villarreal’s first major test of the season will be against rivals Atletico Madrid. The two teams fought hard against each other in the two games last season, but both the games ended in a draw. Atleti has traditionally been one of the competitions for Villarreal in the attempt to qualify for the European Championships, and the same will be the case this time too.
Atleti won the 2020/21 season and while they took a step back with a slew of new faces in the 2021/22 league season, you can never count Los Rojiblancos out. This match at the Wanda will be a good early test for the Yellow Submarines, revealing how tough Villarreal will be in the 2022/23 La Liga season.
#4 Athletic Club Bilbao vs Villarreal – 26th April
Nobody likes taking a trip to the Lion’s Den of San Mames, and while the Yellow Submarines have usually done a good job of surviving against the hard-nosed Athletic Club in the Basque country, a battle against Inaki Williams and Co. at the fag end of the season is never pleasant.
Bilbao has consistently been just off the pace of the Europa League sides, but as we saw in the La Liga of the 2021/22 season, they are capable of beating the Yellow Submarines at their own den. It is never a walk in the park for Villarreal against Bilbao, even when they do get the three points.
#3 Villareal vs Barcelona – 12th February
The second meeting between FC Barcelona and Sevilla will take place during the time when the Champions League knockout stage would be going in full swing with the first leg of the Round of 16 taking place at that time, adding more stress to the schedule to this encounter.
As with numerous seasons off late, this encounter happens to act frequently as one of the big games for the Sevillistas, with the two teams representing the heavyweights of the league and the same can happen in the upcoming season as well.
Though Sevilla has a poor record against Barca, again, there is no such thing as an easy game against the Catalans, save for perhaps the fixture at the Estadio de la Cerámica in the 2022/23 La Liga season.
#2 Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal – 4th June
Emery has been a difficult manager for Diego Simeone to deal with in La Liga the last time the two sides played against each other both the fixtures played between the two sides ended in a draw, so expect another tough battle between these two prestigious Spanish sides at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
This tie will also be important for the mere fact that this game can resonate with Atletico Madrid’s chances of winning the title given the game is played on the last match day. Atleti who are always in the running for the title will head to this game requiring a win to lift the title after one year, a thing they managed against Real Valladolid on the last day of the campaign in the 2020/21 season.
Meanwhile, it will also be an important game for the Yellow Submarines who would like to grab all three points at their own den to maximise their chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League having missed on the same last season after finishing seventh in the table.
#1 Valencia vs Villarreal – 3rd May
There is a no bigger game for a club than an away derby game. Valencia has been one heck of an opponent for Villarreal lately, and the Mestalla is no joke. Villarreal was blanked at the Mestalla in a two-goal defeat against Valencia in the 2021/22 season, doing everything they could to outlast the Bats.
A trip to the Mestalla in May, though, is the definition of high stakes. A slip-up against a team that will be competing with Atleti and Sevilla for a European finish at the fag end of the season would be devastating to Unai Emery’s title hopes. A is the norm, the Yellow Submarine faithful must circle this match because Valencia at the Mestalla is a different animal. They go from “decent” to “great” when they face Villarreal in their house.