Ready for some pub trivia? Here we go.
1) Which team is currently second in La Liga in the goals scored statistic?
2) Which two teams finished round 12 as the joint leaders in the fewest goals conceded stat category?
If your answer to the first question was Villarreal, you’re correct. For the second question, you probably selected Atlético Madrid, but did you pair them with Athletic Club?
As Villarreal and Athletic kicked-off this weekend, odds of a tight affair were high. Could Villarreal’s attacking rotations unsettle Athletic? Could Athletic grab a goal and lockdown Villarreal to steal three road points?
A hard-fought battle, which will surely leave Villarreal frustrated with the officiating, ended in a 0-0 draw.
This tactical analysis will examine how Villarreal’s attacking rotations attempted to unsettle the Athletic defence and how the teams engaged each other in Villarreal’s Zone 14. We’ll also provide an analysis of how Athletic’s defensive tactics successfully earned the team a road point.
Javi Calleja’s Villarreal side set out in a 4-1-4-1. The relationships between Moi Gómez and Santi Cazorla on the left side of the midfield, as well as André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Gerard Moreno on the right, were key emphasize of Calleja’s approach. Their ability to rotate with each other and Karl Toko Ekambi gave them numbers up high and allowed them to probe the Athletic defence. Vicente Iborra played behind the midfield four, providing coverage for Raúl Albiol and Pau Torres.
Gaizka Garitano sent his Athletic side out in a very compact 4-2-3-1. Iñaki Williams drew the start up top, playing in front of Raúl García, Iker Muniain and Ibai Gómez. Dani García and Mikel San José were given the task of protecting the backline and Unai Simón, who was the Man of the Match.
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