As Villarreal look ahead to the challenges of next season and reflect upon the successes of the remarkable Champions League run and mild disappointment in La Liga, we used Whoscored.com to determine their best XI.
Selecting the XI purely based on their rating system for each position, we picked out what the ‘ideal’ Villarreal lineup looks like, and this will come in useful when deciding which positions in the squad need strengthening.
Going with the 4-4-2 formation that was used often throughout the campaign, Whoscored ratings have determined that this was Villarreal’s best performing side, and there are a few surprises.
Goalkeeper: Sergio Asenjo
Yes, the recently departed, second-choice goalkeeper was the best performer over the course of the season, as a number of high-profile errors from Geronimo Rulli meant that Whoscored rated Asenjo at 6.74, compared to Rulli’s 6.71.
A marginal difference, but both scores highlight why the goalkeeping position is a priority for Villarreal in the transfer window.
And you have to keep in mind that Rulli played more, which is always a factor in these ratings.
Full-backs: Juan Foyth & Alfonso Pedraza
There are no surprise at right-back, as Foyth’s impressive 6.94 ranked him fourth-highest in the entire team, while his competition didn’t exactly pull up any trees.
At left-back, the choice was definitely tougher. Both Pedraza and Pervis Estupinan have been impressive yet inconsistent at times throughout the campaign, but Pedraza’s 6.86 earns him a spot in this side.
Both left-backs have been linked with moves away, and it remains to be seen what the full-back situation at the club will look like by the end of summer with Ruben Pena and Serge Aurier having already left.
There are no surprises here.
Pau Torres leads the centre-backs with a 6.86 rating, while his regular partner Raul Albiol comes in at 6.67.
The duo were excellent across La Liga and Europe, and Villarreal couldn’t have hoped for much better.
Aissa Mandi featured sparingly and picked up a rating of 6.63, though that only tells half the story after a season of struggles for the former Real Betis man.
Centre midfielders: Dani Parejo & Etienne Capoue
Both of these central midfielders were an obvious shoe-in. Parejo was the second-highest rated player in the entire squad, as his stunning 2 goals and 10 assists gave him a rating of 7.17, while Capoue was nothing short of sensational on many occasions throughout the season.
Capoue’s best performances arguably came in the Champions League knockouts against Liverpool and Bayern Munich, but the 33-year-old also had a strong La Liga campaign and helped provide solid protection for the back four.
Wingers: Arnaut Danjuma & Samuel Chukwueze
Danjuma’s first, and possibly only, season at the club was a successful one as he notched up 10 league goals and a rating of 6.91.
The Dutch winger primarily operated on the left but also had a few runouts through the middle, and the 25-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League.
Samu Chukwueze beat Yeremy Pino to this list despite the 19-year-old playing, scoring and assisting more than the Nigerian, but Chukwueze has impressed in less minutes, and his winner against Bayern Munich will hopefully light a fire in the 23-year-old.
Forwards: Giovani Lo Celso & Gerard Moreno
The January loan signing from Spurs settled quickly upon his return to La Liga, often playing a false nine or attacking role, particularly in the absence of Gerard Moreno, and his rating of 6.89 comes despite registering just 1 goal and 1 assist in the League.
Unai Emery is keen on retaining Lo Celso, as his performances have been impressive, and the Argentina international looked far more confident and settled at Estadio de la Ceramica than he ever did in North London.
Despite missing chunks of the season with injury, Gerard Moreno’s rating of 7.44 places him top of the pile at Villarreal, and the star striker will hope for a campaign with increased availability next season to regain his place in the Spain squad for the World Cup.