There’s no doubting Jonathan Viera has been one of Las Palmas’ key driving forces in their strong season so far. Under the guidance and positional style of play of manager Quique Setien, his attacking genius has really thrived and animated Los Amarillos’ work in the final third.
And in their impressive 1-0 victory over an excellent Villarreal outfit, Viera was at his creative best, playing a pivotal role in his team’s ninth win of the campaign.
While his mesmerising dribbling qualities and imaginative passing were superb as ever, his astute movement was what give him the ideal platform from which to conduct proceedings.
Forever scanning and checking his surroundings, the diminutive attacking midfielder used his brilliant spatial awareness to persistently time his runs and find openings within Villarreal’s defensive structure. He’d do so in a number of ways, making sure to vary his approach in order to make things unpredictable for his markers.
He’d target the gaps in between the Yellow Submarines’ right winger and right sided central midfielder, Samu Castillejo and Manu Trigueros, which crucially flattened out their midfield layering here, which not only allowed him to create numerical superiority in the left half space but also manufacture huge openings behind the opposition midfield.

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While he’d regularly drop to around the half way line and combine with Roque Mesa, whom he shares an almost telepathic relationship with, to help instigate his team’s moves from deeper areas, the most fruitful tactic for him was his intelligent exploitation of the space in between Villarreal’s defensive and midfield lines.
He’d cunningly drift into this zone of the pitch and make a real nuisance of himself by using subtle lateral movements to avoid the opposition midfielders cover shadows and allow his colleagues to have open lanes to pass to him through. The fantastic Mesa duly obliged his mate’s movement on many occasions with his sensational, line breaking passing ability too.

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For additional evidence of how well Mesa and Viera dovetailed, the pair passed to one another a whopping 55 times over the course of the match.

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Setien’s positional framework, and the way he instructs his team to be positioned in specific heights and widths depending on the position of the ball, certainly plays an instrumental role in Viera’s success too, for it guarantees he has plenty of viable options to utilise and create essential superiority, thus enhancing Viera’s capacity to construct their attacking phases through.

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Statistically, his five chances created, five successful dribbles and five shots complimented his exquisite off the ball work wonderfully.
After another performance of the highest order from the 27-year-old, he yet again proved his tremendous importance to Las Palmas and why many are talking about him being deserving of a spot in Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad.
Although he was disappointingly left out of Lopetegui’s latest squad, if he can keep up his remarkable form, the technically, tactically and mentally gifted Viera will give himself every chance of being selected next time around.

Edward Stratmann

Freelance football writer and blogger he writes regularly about the on-field aspects of the game, with a particular focus on tactics and analysis. In addition to featuring on several football websites, including AS Roma’s and Everton’s Official Websites, find his work at Licence to Roam, a football blog he co-founded in 2013.