Villarreal came out as 1-0 winners over relegation threatened Mallorca, through a goal created by Samuel Chukwueze and tapped in by Carlos Bacca at the back post. Mallorca defended extremely deep at times in a 5-4-1 and largely attacked on the counter and weren’t able to create any big chances other than during a scramble in the 6 yard box. Overall, it was a very equal game in terms on expected goals, but it felt like Villareal had a lot more possession than the stats would suggest. They attacked in a 4-3-3 and defended in a 4-4-2 often with one winger, usually Chukwueze dropping into the midfield line.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Age: 21
- Date of Birth: 22/05/1999
- Current Club: Villareal
- Career: Villareal
- Position: Right Wing
- Preferred foot: Left
Playing on the right of the front three, the Nigerian international was crucial to the Villareal attack with a lot going through him. In buildup he tended to hug the sideline, and then wanted to cut inside onto his left foot. He also took some very central positions, finding space between the lines and dropping into midfield. He received the ball well, able to take touches away from pressure on the front foot or receive on the turn with his back foot.
He was a fairly direct player, able to drive at the defence and down the wing. He had a great burst of pace and showed very good tight control at speed as well as good changes of pace. He was able to use pace to knock the ball past defenders and burst into space. He also showed good tight control in his press resistance and retained the ball fairly well. He was able to penetrate the box by cutting in from the right or after receiving the ball centrally.
His passing into the box wasn’t as good and his decision making could have been slightly better on a few occasions with passes not coming off. He did however create the only goal of the game, after cutting in from the left he played a calm low cross/pass to the back post from the corner of the 6 yard box to be tapped in. His passing in deeper areas was strong as well, he spread play very well and found wide players in space.
He had good positioning and dropping into the midfield line in the block when needed. He pressed high well a few times, utilising his pace and worked fairly hard throughout the game, wanting to take up good positions.
Overall, Chukwueze impressed and had a strong game. When I’ve seen him before he was quite raw and one dimensional but I was really impressed today by his passing, adding it to his game makes him a lot more appealing for bigger clubs. He’s a great athlete, can be direct and is difficult to defend against even if he isn’t the most physical, able to get around players with ease at times. Although, I thought he looked taller than the 5’8″ he’s listed as.
Rating – A1
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa
- Nationality: Cameroonian
- Age: 24
- Date of Birth: 16/11/1995
- Current Club: Villareal, on loan from Fulham with option to buy
- Career: Cotonsport (Y), Stade Reims (Y), Marseille, Fulham, Villareal (L)
- Position: Defensive Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Comfortable on the ball, Anguissa showed confidence in possession in deeper areas, doing well under pressure and retaining the ball well. He received on the back foot very well, able to turn and play into space quickly with good awareness. His front foot touches could be a little heavy at times but never caused an issue. He was able to drive into space a few times and made a good run down the wing. The Cameroonian international was strong on the ball with decent pace and was a strong runner, but not the most elegant on the ball at times.
His involvement in the buildup was mixed and fluctuated throughout the match. He was an option to receive from the centre halves, but wasn’t very active in his positioning and could be quite static if the ball went to Trigueros and didn’t look to get on the ball then. His passing was fairly standard with solid technique but didn’t progress the ball much and could have been a bit more adventurous at times but kept possession for the team well. In the final third he looked fairly uncomfortable as well and static when he got forward.
Defensively he was well positioned in the covering layers of the wide press, giving support and cutting off passing lanes inside. He covered the wide areas well, read play well and was often in the right place to pick up loose balls. He showed some good anticipation to burst out and make interceptions to then start the counter. He stayed on his feet but was beaten too easily several times in 1v1 situations in his own half and lacked the change of direction and footwork to track difficult runners.
Overall, he showed good intelligence out of possession and was technically sound but could have been slightly more effective in and out of possession. He could have imposed himself a little more and being bypassed in central areas was a big issue and something to work on, even though he was against some tricky dribblers in this game with low centres of gravity and good acceleration. I think he could play for a higher team but this game didn’t convince me enough to give an A1 yet.
Rating – A2
- Nationality: Spanish
- Age: 23
- Date of Birth: 16/01/1997
- Current Club: Villareal
- Career: Villareal, Malaga (L)
- Position: Centre Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Playing as the left centre half, was good technically and able to pass with both feet and composed on the ball. He took progressive touches and travelled into space, but slightly inconsistently and could have been a quicker to move into space. He kept his passing fairly short but did play one nice diagonal to the right back in space. His passing had good weight and was crisp, circulating the ball or playing into the dropping midfielders easily.
He was a patient 1v1 defender with good footwork, able to delay the attack and didn’t lunge in when in 1v1s as the opposition tried to drive inside. His concentration was a little inconsistent. When the ball was wide of the box in crossing positions, he scanned well and had a good body position. When the ball was in early crossing positions he ball watched more and switched off a little when he felt like there was less danger. He was fairly quiet and didn’t try to organise the defence, he had okay positioning himself but could have adjusted slightly more at times.
He never had to hit top gears so it was difficult to judge his athleticism but did looked to press out of the line in deeper areas, and covered well when in a high line. He’s tall at 6’3″ but fairly lightweight and lacked aggression in the air, getting beaten a few times.
Rating – B1
Overall, Torres had a decent game, showing himself as a modern centre half who is comfortable on the ball. The same way I talked about Le Normand for Real Sociedad, it felt like he was quiet and lacked grit while being a sound technical defender. I’d like to see him again though to get a better idea as he was fairly quiet in this match.