Always a tasty encounter with Atletico Madrid. Admittedly we do have to admire them for what Simeone has done with them over the years. Being an England fan I can never forgive him for cheating against Beckham in a world cup but he has my respect. Regularly challenging the top 3 and revolutionizing that 442. Under Emery I believe Villarreal will challenge that dominance. Looking at previous results we can certainly challenge them.
Dominant display over Granada but drew blank against Huesca. Considering Villarreal did the same its fair to say neither of us have hit the ground running. I am sure Pau Torres and Raul Albiol will be keen to get their teeth into new signing Luis Suarez. The controversial player can still cause a dent in a team despite the ripe old age of 33.
The 442 we have been playing hasn’t really got going yet in the dominant attacking way of last season. Against Alves we adopted a 4 2 3 1 which really worked. It will be interesting to see if Emery sticks with this. For me personally the highlight was Gerrard as a right forward was key as it gave Mario and arguably the midfield the protection that defender needs. Alcacer seemed happier getting the more direct play through the midfield.
The 3 midfield Trigueros, Parejo and Iborra were dominant as we saw that direct play that was missing under Calleja. Parejo was the master of passing and between him and Iborra provided the defensive cover. For this one I am not sure if Iborra will be as affective. As one of our commenters mentioned he does struggle with the fast pace midfield. Admittedly Atlético’s attacking threat comes from the wings. As you can see I am starting to like this formation and I hope it is adopted.
Atlético will adopt their 4 4 2 style however it is probably one of the best 4 4 2 formations in the world. Wingers will attack direct in the box fed by their very physical midfield who a are both defensive and attacking.
Pedraza and Rubén Peña are out which leaves us dangerously light in defence. Estupiñán has knocked ankle. According to Javi Mata he is possibility and by the looks of club pictures he has been training. Controversial but if he has to sit out to protect the injury then Costa against a very physical Atlético is not all that bad. Couqelin is out which suggests Iborra will be in. If it is to be 4 4 2 then I would prefer Parejo and Trigueros.
Looking at previous games its always been pretty much even over the years. Since 2014 Villarreal have beaten them 4 times Atlético 3 times the rest all draws. Our last victory was 2018 so Atlético are due a kicking. Prediction 2-1 Villarreal