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Villarreal at Atletico: La Liga Preview

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Why not us?

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

Way I figure this match, we get one shot on goal at the Wanda and we’re officially better than Liverpool. Right? We can all agree there. One shot on goal and we’ll have done better than they did and it’ll be irrefutable proof that Mane-Firmino-Salah is no match for Paco-Gerard-Santi.

Yes, I like this plan.

Our opponents

We know the drill with Atleti, their offense is broken, and a busted set piece goal on Tuesday against Liverpool didn’t change that. They’re gonna play some negative football, be physical on defense, and fall over at the slightest breath when they are on the ball. Fine. It will be an ugly match, few shots on goal, Simeone is going to want to grind out an ugly win.

This is actually a series that we have the all time lead in, believe it or not, we are 10-7-9 in all history against the mattress makers. Back in December? 0-0, lots of shots, but only six on target. We had 53% of the ball.

Villarreal

Trigueros comes into this match one yellow from a suspension. If he’s going to get it, I’d greatly prefer he wait a week. I would rather he miss Leganes than Bilbao. I’ve seen our formation from last week described as a 4141. a 433, and a 4231. I suggested on our podcast (link below) that Calleja’s system is more about ideas than it is about a formation, we are trying to do the same thing regardless of how exactly we set up. Whatever you call the formation, I think we’ll be back in it. Gerard, Paco, and Moi as the attack with Cazorla and Trigueros creating behind them and Iborra sitting in the role behind them. I’d love to see Zambo in place of Trigueros in this one because I think his ball carrying would be more effective breaking lines against Atleti’s low block but hey, what do I know?

Santi didn’t play last match, and Zambo/Trigueros was the creative pivot. It didn’t get us into the back of the net, but I think the same idea with Santi’s experience could do the trick. Biggest thing is we have to get Paco involved. The new man hasn’t settled in yet and it’s about time we got him another goal.

One other point of note, Alberto Moreno is healthy for this match! I don’t necessarily expect him to play this weekend, but we’ll probably see him against Athletic Club.

Prediction

0-0 or 1-1. I’m feeling a draw and I don’t think it’ll be a particularly exciting one.