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2016-17 La Liga Team Preview: Villarreal

Next up in our La Liga preview are last year's Europa League semi-finalists

Villarreal CF v Liverpool - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: First Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Many thanks to the guys over @VillarrealUSA for providing the answers below.

1) What are Villarreal's expectations heading into the year?

After Marcelino's surprising dismissal and with the subsequent arrival of Escribá, it's rather difficult to make a bold statement of what's expected. I would say making it into the Champions League once again perhaps. Being in the Europa League at the minimum.

2) How would you summarise your team’s tactics?

The tactics employed by Marcelino were similar to the ones employed by Simeone. A very pragmatic approach with a 4-4-2 that rarely varied. At least Simeone varies his tactical set up whenever it was required by the particular circumstances. Marcelino rarely made tactical adjustments outside the 4-4-2. Now that Escribá arrived, he prefers to use a 4-2-3-1 formation with a pragmatic counter attacking approach as well. It'd be interesting to if he prefers to follow Marcelino's line of work with the 4-4-2 system or apply his own particular formation.

3) Who are your most influential players?

Our most influential players are Bruno, Jona dos Santos, Trigueros, Victor Ruiz, Mario Gaspar, Asenjo. Etc... We are a team with a few individualists but we work as a unit. Just like Atleti. Every single one of our players is a soldier, just like every Atleti player is willing to give their best for Simeone. Perhaps Atleti have a better harmony than us. If I had to choose one I'd say Bruno is the most influential. Every ball passes through his boots. He is the anchor and leader of the team. Bruno is the face of Villarreal.

4) How has summer transfer business gone for Villarreal?

It has been the most busiest summer for Villarreal ever. Most of the signings have been remarkable. Sansone and Soriano in particular. Both of them have a lot of upside and most of the fans are pleased with them. We also have N'Diaye, Pato, and Cheryshev. Chery is a fan favorite, whom the fans are very pleased as well since he was a standout during his previous staying at the club. Pato is an interesting signing as well, especially if he can recover his best form from his days at Milan, in which he was one of the most exciting prospects at the San Siro. N'Diaye, Jose Angel, Andres Fernandez, meh. I don't particularly rate any of them. The latter will be occupying substitutes roles while the former is pretty average IMO. He was supposed to be Bailly's replacement even though he's not even a defender. You can imagine. Sigh...

5) Make one bold prediction for the coming season for Villarreal

4th place in La Liga