La Liga review: Villarreal’s performance through the stats

It’s over! As La Liga comes to an end, some things have changed, and other have stayed the same. Valencia is as mercurial as it gets, that Marcos Llorente is arguably the signing of the season, and Sevilla’s Monchi is back with a vengeance.

We also see that some things are as sure as death and taxes: Lionel Messi, Pichichi. Iago Aspas, 99% of Celta. Fran Escriba, making miracles at Elche. Simeone pushes his team one match at a time.

But, how did Villarreal fair in La Liga? Emery’s men finished seventh as the club focused in what would be a magical and unexpected Europa League title, but it is important to mention that the fifth spot was there until the last match. The results did not help, and Villarreal finished outside of the top six.

Luckily enough, the Europa League win means Villarreal will play in the Champions League. However, it is still important to measure the performance of the players and the team as they compare to the rest of La Liga. Let’s take a look!

Overall La Liga Stats: Villarreal players in the Top 50 per stat

Most goals:

2. Gerard Moreno, 23 

34. Alcacer, 6

42. Bacca, 5

  • The Moreno-dependency is obvious in this stat, as the striker scored roughly 45% of the goals of the team. Alcacer had a good start and Bacca a good end to the season, but a need to reinforce this position is obvious when looking at the numbers.

Most assists:

12. Gerard Moreno, 7

13. Trigueros, 7

39. Alcacer, 4

40. Parejo, 4

  • Here, Moreno is also leading but Trigueros, with more matches played but the same amount of assists, supports the striker. Alcacer and Parejo round things up.

Most shots (total):

3. Gerard Moreno, 47

29. Alcacer, 20

  • This is a very interesting stat, as Moreno shoots much less than Messi, but did not finish far off from the Argentinean. He is definitely more efficient than Alcacer too, as the forward from Torrent scored 6 in 20 shots, for 23 in 47 of Moreno. This stat bears repeating–every other shot on target Moreno makes, ends in goal.

Most passes (total):

3. Parejo, 2,668

10. Pau, 2,058

11. Albiol, 2,051

34. Trigueros, 1,579

  • Partnerships are on the menu in this stat. The Parejo-Trigueros and Pau-Albiol couples serve each other well, and account for a big portion of the passes of the team. Especial mention to Dani, who guided the team through 53 total matches this overall season. He played everything.

Most times recovered possession: 

25. Parejo, 45

  • The midfielder not only creates, but destroys, as well. He recovers the ball more than once per match.

Most fouls (total):

15. Trigueros, 58

41. Gerard Moreno, 44

49. Pedraza, 42

  • Trigueros is top here, and it makes sense as many of us have the classic image of Manu complaining about a foul that shouldn’t have been call in our brains. Moreno and Pedraza complete the podium as two aggressive players on the pitch.

Most dribbles (total):

4. Gerard Moreno, 71

33. Samu Chukwueze, 39

39. Parejo, 37

42. Moi, 36

  • Samu and Moi show in the Top 50 in this stat, demonstrating the talent Emery knows they have, but showing a bit lower than one would have expected.

Minutes played (total):

7. Asenjo, 3,240

11. Parejo, 3,119

11. Albiol, 3,119

25. Pau, 2,970

  • Asenjo played basically everything, and Parejo was not far off. Albiol and Pau spent the entire year together as well. Rating:

7. Gerard Moreno, 7.62

19. Parejo, 7.10

  • We took the ratings as a measure of overall performance this season, and two Villarreal players would make the best La Liga team: Moreno and Parejo.

Other stats worth noting

  • Mario is the 10th best player in La Liga in terms of tackles per game, with 2.2 successful ones per match. 
  • Trigueros is the fourth best in the competition in terms of assists away from home, with four. 
  • Parejo is the fourth best passer in the league (per match), with 74.5 passes every 90 minutes.
  • Asenjo made it to the middle of the pack when it came to saves, accounting for roughlt 2 saves per match, 80 total.

Team review

Villarreal is also highlighted in several areas in the collective:

  • Fourth team with the most goals, with 60–but actually the 9th with the most shots per match, with 10.7. Efficiency is the name of the game. 
  • Villarreal shows his willingness to let the opposition run its game and counteract, and the numbers support this claim. The team is in the bottom four in terms of aerial challenges won (13 per match) and least fouls committed (11.8 every 90 minutes)and in the bottom five in interceptions per match, with 9.8. Emery’s men are also the 2nd team with the least yellow cards, with 65, only under Real Madrid (57). 
  • In the offensive, Villarreal shines again: Fourth team with the most possession on average (54.3%), also top four in most shots per match (4.3), and the second best dribbling team, with 11.5 successful dribbles per match, only behind you-know-who. 

Overall Insights

  • Gerard Moreno takes the cake: Overall, he is the top scorer, the player with the most assists, most dribbles, most shots, and overall rating in the team. On top of that, he is also by far the top scorer away from home, with 14 goals in 17 matches, and the seventh best dribbler in La Liga, with 2.2 successful dribbles per game. 
  • The team was not known for its defensive power this season, neither in the midfield, recovering possession, nor conceding a small amount of goals. However, it proved to be very efficient with the chances it enjoyed.
  • The wings have proven useful throughout the season, but the middle of the pitch is where it’s at for Villarreal. Pau and Albiol, Parejo and Trigueros, and Moreno up front are the gold of the team. If Roig Negueroles manages to bring in a dangerous winger, Foyth sticks around, and a promising striker joins the ranks, four competitions will seem less daunting to a stretched-thin squad.

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