At time of publishing, we are already up 1-0 on a goal from Fer Nino, assisted by Gerard. Very curiously to me, we seem to be in a 442, not the 4231 or 433 that Emery is known for. This seems to accommodate playing Fer and Gerard together, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we changed formations as the match went along. It’s good to see us looking sharp and motivated in Unai Emery’s first match in charge, but at the end of the day we can’t draw too many conclusions from the first preseason friendly.
Villarreal starting XI:
It’s curious the mix between experience and youth we have on the pitch. New men Coquelin and Parejo start the match. Copete, a CB from Villarreal B, starts the match does as well. If we were inclined to over analyze things, maybe Emery is testing out the 20 year old to see if he needs another CB or not? (We do, boss, we really do.)
Here is the Youtube link to the match:
Here’s an updated link for the second half (Kubo has entered):
In addition to all the tatical tidbits, it is fascinating how many of the comments on the Youtube video are in Japanese. Clearly Kubo’s arrival has had a massive impact on the international profile of the club. If he has a really good year we will be able to enjoy that support all season, I would think.