We are all used to hearing Villarreal described as playing attractive football, free-flowing, lots of movement off the ball, creating chances to score, etc. But does that match the reality of the 2015-16 season thus far? Statistics suggest not.
Consider the following (all statistics are from WhoScored, after the Depor match):
(1) Villarreal are averaging 8.7 shots on goal. This is the FEWEST in the Primera; only Espanyol (9.5) is also averaging below 10 shots per game. Most clubs average between 11 and 13.
(2) We are 17th among the 20 clubs in possession (46.7%); only Getafe, Eibar and Sporting are lower.
(3) We are middling in pass success (14th, at 73.8%).
(4) We're 17th in aerial duels won (14.4 per game); Athletic Club has an amazing 23.5 per, next is Eibar at 20.
(5) Ratings are subjective, of course, but WhoScored only has us at 6.80 as a team, 10th in the league. Even Valencia (6.87) and Depor (6.88) are better.
So how are we succeeding? Well, the statistics don't explain it. It's true we are decent in some defensive categories (we draw offsides on the opponents fairly often, we are fifth in the league at intercepting the ball) but nothing on offense stands out. We do rise from 20th to 17th when you consider shots on target (3.4 per match) but the only clubs below us are Betis, Espanyol and Levante.
What about differences between at home and on the road? It's widely considered that Marcelino sets out a more defensive lineup on the road and that hurts our goalscoring chances.
(1) there is a sizeable difference between shots home (10.5; 19th) and away (6.5; 20th). Most clubs don't have such a big difference, though Valencia's is similar (12.3 home, 8.1 away).
(2) nothing else stands out overall--we tend to be in the bottom third when it comes to possession,passing success, etc. away and home both.
Overall, if you look at the statistics, we ought to be at best in the middle of the pack with 20-23 points; instead we have 33 and are in fourth place. At home, anyway, I think we'd agree we look like a side in the European places; away, we've been much poorer. But as for statistics showing that, I can't figure it out!