Match Report - Real Sociedad 0-0 Sporting Gijon
In my opinion this was a disappointing loss of two points in our first home fixture of the season. Sporting arrived at the Anoeta after a very creditable opening draw against Real Madrid. It appeared they were always looking to return home with a point courtesy of their well drilled defensive unit.
Sporting were promoted from the Segunda division on the basis that they were hard to score against and it appears this season they have carried this strength forward into La Liga.
That said Real welcomed the return of Asier Illarramendi and enjoyed an overall superiority in possession of 62%, a statistic that was even higher at 69% in the first half. But this dominance of possession only translated itself into 2 shots on target and Sporting keeper Cueller was hardly called into action. I doubt he needed a shower after the final whistle he was that inactive!
The major problem in La Reala's attacking performance was the lack of pace in our transitional play. We are very slow when counter attacking and rarely play a long forward pass that forces the opposition defence into a difficult position.
The match also marked Xabi Prieto's 32nd birthday, but he hardly gave a vintage performance as he coasted through the match without any telling contributions.
Overall we have started this season slowly and cautiously. However this is an improvement in last season where we looked disorganised and dispirited. Diego Reyes again had a strong game in central defence and Aritz Elustondo deputised well after his late selection due to Joseba Zaldua's training ground injury. Bruma showed promise especially in the first 15 minutes of the second half. He also demonstrated that he is prepared to track back to help out defensively if required. I was pleasantly surprised by his positive work ethic as I had previously thought him to only offer attacking possibilities.
Carlos Vela does not look like he is enjoying himself very much and his fitness appears to leave a bit to be desired. This is hardly surprising as he missed the entire pre-season training due to his involvement in the Gold Cup.
Jonathas is shooting at every opportunity, he appears desperate to open his account. He needs to be more patient and wait for a proper opportunity as currently all he is achieving is giving the opposition goal kicks with his wild and inappropriate shooting.
Illarra lasted 75 minutes before running out of steam. His recent lack of playing time affected his performance in the second half but he is a fine player and can only strengthen our team.