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Villarreal: What traps should Allegri’s squad worry about?




On December 13th, after the draw was invalidated, necessitating its repetition, it was decided that Villarreal would be Juventus’ opponent in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Therefore, I believe this is the right time to get to know more about the current UEFA Europa League champions.

The first thing we have to keep in mind is that as much as Villareal are inferior to teams like PSG or Atlético de Madrid, it would be a big mistake to underestimate them. That’s because the Spanish team has already shown itself capable of compete with a really good mentality against first-level European opponents, in the UEFA Super Cup game for example, Villareal was able to dominate the entire second half, finishing with more possession than Chelsea. Not to mention the La Liga games against Barcelona, ​Atlético De Madrid and Real Madrid, where the team proved extremely tough to be beaten, especially in the last game against Real Madrid, where the team draw 0x0 at home.

Team Playing Style

Villarreal, as with all the teams that Unai Emery has trained in, does not have a clear style of play, which makes it impossible for us to say that we are talking about an offensive or defensive team. This is because Unai Emery, at the core of his ideals, develop a team that adapts to the characteristics of each opponent.


Take, for example, the average positioning of the team in the game against Atlético de Madrid, Villarreal, given the opponent’s aggressiveness in the counterattacks, played with low lines and defends itself most of the time:

Now look at the average positioning of the team against Barcelona, ​​in which, given the characteristic of a construction of slower moves by the opponent, in addition to the need to pressure the team to leave the game, Villarreal starts to act with high lines and performing a construction of slower plays, trying to maintain greater possession of the ball :


Therefore, it is clear that Villarreal’s playing style, at least in the first game, will totally depend on the style that the Juventus team plays in the games prior to the match. In the second game, if Villarreal wins at home, the team will probably play defending with lower lines in Turin, if Juventus win the first game, Villarreal will probably try to play with high lines and try to keep the ball to score as many as they can.


Tactical Analysis

Villarreal has only one formation: the 4-4-2. In this system, the main characteristic of the Unai Emery team is the mobility of two attackers, who act without a fixed position and always look for the game between lines. Without a doubt, Juventus will have to play with very compact lines to prevent Villarreal’s pair of strikers from having the freedom to create offensive plays and 1v1 situations against the center backs. Take, for example, the heatmap of Gérard Moreno in La Liga this season, the Spanish

Striker plays with a lot of mobility and freedom of movement:

In addition to the movement capacity of the two frontmen, the team has a player of great quality in the construction of plays, especially in long balls, who usually ,retreat a little between the defenders and start Villarreal’s moves: Dani Parejo. To have an idea, this season, the midfielder has already accumulated 6 assists in just 15 games in La Liga, in addition to 2 assists in 6 games in the Champions League. Therefore, Juventus have to make a strong and intense marking in the midfield of Villareal, avoiding any space for Parejo to create plays. In this role, physical midfielders like Zakaria for example are essential.

Another fundamental characteristic of Villareal, which makes it unpredictable, is the constant change in the characteristics of its wingers. This is because if Alberto Moreno plays on the left wing, we can expect someone he will attack from the corridor, but he will also give great support to LB. If Manu Trigueiros plays in this position, Villarreal with the ball becomes a   4-3-3, because the midfielder, instead of attacking the runner, like Alberto Moreno, stays in his position and comes to the middle to participate in the creation of plays, this features more freedom for the RW on the other side. Therefore, whoever plays as RW from Juventus, regardless of formation, will have to be able to make the marking in both situations, even if it is necessary to follow Manu Trigueiros to the midfield lane. See the heatmap of Manu Trigueiros in the game against Alavés below and notice

how there is a change in position in relation to the traditional wingman:

Lastly, if Juventus is playing 4-2-3-1 with the mid/high lines, it is essential that Dybala jumps to put pressure on the center backs with the striker. This is because Pau Torres has great skill in long passes, to give you an idea, the Spanish defender has 3 great chances created and 0.4 decisive passes per game in La Liga in the current season.


Strong Points

• when plays with low block, capable of being very compact

• attack moves with a lot of mobility and movement

• strong support from full-backs in attack

• midfield with great ability to tackle, which requires Juventus to play calmly so as not to lose the ball too often in this region of the field.


• fast attackers, which allows constant attempts at long balls


• may find it difficult to defend against a system with 3 midfielders if they play with mobility, such as 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1

• slow defense, which allows counterattacks

• low convention of opportunities, only 11% in La Liga so far


• no player with long shots skill, only 1 goal scored outside the box this season








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