Villarreal’s formation in recent years
Since 2016 fans, players and managers have been arguing over the best formation. This season Villarreal have started 4-4-2 then switched it to 4-4-3 second half. This unorthodox approach is essentially a counterattacking idea across a whole game rather than a style in itself. But has it worked and what is truly the best formation for Villarreal and the dreams of Fernando Roig? 4-4-2: The Stubborn Marcelino Years Have Returned To Villarreal?
Villarreal had arguably the best years under Marcelino and his strict 4-4-2. Throughout his 3 years, the yellow submarine were in the top six and secured solid foundations in the Europa league. Regarded as one for the most formidable sides. There is proof in the pudding that this formation works for Villarreal. Our defenders receive more protection, the wingers and attackers are free to press on without defending. There’s no arguing this formation brings a balance of attacking and defence and works for many teams around the world.
In essence it works but somewhat subdues the attacking quality that we have. In this formation we have Paco and Moreno up top. Trigueros and Iborra centre midfield while Santi and Moi play along wings. This suits Moi well but it tends to limit Santi who works best through the middle. It could be switched to diamond but who do you put at the top of the diamond, Santi or Manu?.
In truth it has worked well for Villarreal. The defence look less shaky at the back receiving cover from both wingers and central mids. The weakness is that our attackers do not receive the service they need. We probably have some of the fastest strikers in La Liga however in this formation they have to rely more on crosses.
4-4-3: The New Era For Villarreal To Raise Above The Waves?
4-4-3 has been around for years originally invented by the Dutch. It blew the traditional 4-4-2 out of the waves. This year 4-3-3 back is fashion, preferred to the 3-5-2 which reappeared under Conte at Chelsea. To be fair to Calleja, he is the first manager willing to try it for Villarreal and at times it has been our best formation. Providing you have two FIT attacking wing backs it’s extremely effective.
Once we switch, Paco remains central allowing Manu and Santi to play killer through balls for him to latch onto. Gerard is relieved of the pressure of a holding striker. He tracks back more while still attacking the flanks. For me the connection between Trigueros and Santi is the highlight of this formation. They can both attack and play killer through balls knowing that they have the protection of Iborra to cover. Iborra is not a traditional holding midfielder and has been forced into the role. To his credit he has almost been Rodrigo or Bruno like this season. He is fast becoming the true back burner of the team and it is difficult to imagine the squad without him.
The weakness appears in the full backs/ wingbacks. For this to work we need A Moreno and Pena. If you have Mario and Moreno it doesn’t work. It becomes an uneven balance and causing confusion for the already confused CBS.
Time for change altogether or stick to what we know?
Should adopt a new style completely? 3-5-2? 4-2-3-1? What do you think is the best formation for Villarreal?. Let us know via your comments below and we will discuss it on one of our many podcasts.