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Responding to the Levante match discussion

Robin Scrutinises the Game Thread for recent victory against Levante

Villarreal CF v Levante UD - La Liga
Villarreal Fans have their say
Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images

Villarreal came back to beat Levante 2-1 victory pushing the Yellows into 6th place. The game thread for the match brought up some very interesting points from the US Villarreal fan base. Whether positive or negative, these comments deserve to be dissected on a grander scale.

Iborra or Zambo?

“Anguissa was playing with Iborra—you can argue when Trigueros forced his way back in that Iborra should have gone to the bench instead of Zambo”.

This is a very interesting topic. Its to be argued that both can play in that holding role but offer something very different. Manu deserves to play 100%

Zambo is the more attacking of the 2. He favours holding on to the ball and pressing rather than tiki take passing. His strength means he can hold onto the ball and can play through balls on the run. He has the skill to press forward. It is almost a counter attacking style in that other players will press forward and wait for the through ball rather than receive it short. This does mean he can be out of position at times leaving the defence vulnerable.

Iborra is the slower of the two and seems to prefer to play it short rather than press. This is crucial to retain possession and give the attackers the chance to get in position. Once laid off he will hold his position allowing Santi and Manu to be the playmakers. Frustratingly, he often plays it safe and plays it backwards or diagonally. Despite being the safer option, this slows the play down and we lose the attacking threat.

Defencively they are equal in my opinion and both extremly well disciplined. They are roughly the same height and have long legs which makes them the perfect interceptors. Neither of them tend to give up and are worthy enough to hold onto the position left by Bruno. The only time they would realistically play together would be against sides like Barca or Madrid when we want to adopt an extreme defencive style.

International or Spanish players?

“Calleja seems to give Spanish players benefit of the doubt no matter what. While the same rule doesn’t apply to foreign players, one average or bad match and that players are left out.”

It depends completely on the opposition rather than who gets a chance in my opinion. To respect the comment, I feel the Spanish players probably do get the benefit of the doubt. To their credit they probably are more consistent. Calleja seems to have his perfect 11 and possibly the International players don’t make the cut.

Funes Mori v Pau: Pau is a lot better player. Stronger in defence and has a lot better positional awareness. Funes has had lots of chances to prove himself last season and was solid but Pau is better.

Samu V Gerrard: Gerrard is more consistent on that right. Samu has started a fair few times but either has a quiet game or sets the valley a light. Gerrard always has a good game and defends. Samu is a better attacker but his lack of defencive skills Gerrard will always start over him.

Zambo V Iborra: This is the most difficult and the most valid to comment itself. Both justify a place in the squad but Iborra may be preferred because Zambo is on loan. Surely it would be wiser to have Iborra established in position rather Zambo who is leaving at the end of the season? It's possible that’s the reason I am unsure and don’t call me Surely. Despite having a good season Iborra hasn’t done enough to completely secure that position. We may be seeing a lot more of Zambo this season

Is Mario past it?

“He’s not been his “Super Mario” self (when he was called up to the Spanish NT) for a while now”

The criticism of Mario in my opinion (feel free to disagree) is somewhat unfair especially to compare him with 2011 which was a completely different formation. Admittedly, he has lost pace, however, he makes up for that with his strength. Admittedly, he does lack confidence going forward but this is normal for someone who’s played his entire career as a traditional RB. To his credit he hasn’t hidden away from pressing forward. Commenters pointed out Zambo needed to cover for him. As a wing back when you run forward, the midfielder is then supposed to cover you. Same thing happened for Pena only he committed fouls instead.


Has your mind changed? Monday Blues kicking in? Let us know any further thoughts below and we will discuss them on a future podcast as the season unfolds.