Match Report / Español 0-5 Real Sociedad
Matchday 23 – Espanyol 0 – 5 Real Sociedad – Match Report
Monday 8th February 2016
14,155 Spectators (mostly unhappy!!) 😃
Espanyol are a team in disarray since the appointment of Constantine Galca in early December. They came into this match without a win in their previous six league fixtures which included a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Real Madrid last week. Real Sociedad had failed to win any of their previous six matches on the road, and most thought that a dour low scoring match was likely to unfold. How wrong we were!!
La Reala selected an unexpected line up with central defender Deigo Reyes being preferred to Markel is play as the holding midfield player. This was presumably to counter any aerial attacks from Espanyol, but they were not to materialise.
Right from the kick off Eusebio Sacristan’s visiting side delivered a sensational attacking performance. The visitors took the lead within five minutes with Vela’s quick long pass completely catching out the home defence. He saw Jonathas make a run between the central defenders and delivered a perfect long pass to allow the Brazilian to lob the ball over the goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis, who completely mistimed his charge off his goal line.
Three minutes later Ruben Pardo delivered a perfect through ball and Vela ran clear, cutting across the final defender before sending a magnificent left-footed chip over Arlauskis who again misjudged the situation. It was a fantastic finish and a magnificent pass from Pardo who looks so much better when he plays in a more positive fashion. The score remained 0-2 as half time arrived. Espanyol had offered nothing going forward and their defence looked like the players had never met each other before. Goalkeeper Arlauskis was replaced for the second half in an attempt to contain the damage. The home fans were far from happy and were probably searching their pockets for the white handkerchiefs!
The second half started in the same manner the first had ended with the visitors containing the minimal threat the home team offered. Mikel Oyarzabal scored the third on 52 minutes after an excellent cross field pass from Ruben Pardo. It was a fine finish from the 18 year old and marked his first ever La Liga goal. The fourth goal arrived just 3 minutes later when Diego Reyes expertly headed in Pardo’s corner.
In the 90th minute Espanyol gifted Sociedad a late fifth goal as they spurned two chances to clear the ball allowing Jonathas to lash the ball home from close range. Central defender Michael Ciani yet again missed a loose bouncing ball and this error capped an awful match by him for the home team. Although overall Espanyol enjoyed greater possession, they struggled to create any meaningful goal scoring opportunities, proving it is what you actually do with the ball that is the vital factor, not how often you have it!!
Although this was a fantastic result for Real Sociedad it needs to be viewed in perspective. Espanyol were truly dreadful and delivered an utterly abject defensive display. With that said Real created and took their chances in a real efficient and effective manner, they created chances and took the opportunities that fell to them. It was a very competent display from a team that is beginning to gain in confidence.
I believe that Real Sociedad should always play in a counterattacking style away from home. It suits the players that we have and can be very effective, especially if we remain defensively secure.
Ruben Pardo can claim 3 assists from this game which is a very positive performance. He should always be used in a more advanced position as this allows him to display his attacking qualities and create chances. Playing him in a deeper role is wasting his ability and he is just not suited to it as his tackling is mediocre at best. However, he does need to work on his shooting accuracy as he rarely poses a goal threat.
This result means that Real Sociedad climb to 11th in the table, while Espanyol remain just a point outside the bottom three places. The Chinese New Year has started very badly for Espanyol’s new owners!
The match statistics showed: Possession 56/44% in favour of Espanyol, we managed 10 shots of which 6 were on target. We won 5 corners and received 2 yellow cards: Zaldua 79 mins and Jonathas 90 minutes.