Paul Murray´s Match Report – Barcelona 4-0 Real Sociedad

Paul Murray´s Match Report – Barcelona 4-0 Real Sociedad

Matchday 13 – Saturday 28th November 2015

Match Report – Barcelona 4 – 0 Real Sociedad

74,020 spectators (including me).

Real Sociedad’s new manager Eusebio’s return to the Camp Nou ended predictably with a comfortable 4-0 win for the home side with goals from Neymar (2), Suarez and Messi.  The score was an accurate reflection of the game with Barca also hitting the woodwork twice. The goals were equally spread between the two halves.

Real played as well as they were allowed and certainly showed some spirit, however this was never likely to be enough to trouble the home team who are currently in superb form.

The major difference between the two teams was that every time Barca attacked you felt like they were going to create a shooting opportunity and probably score.  They always looked dangerous and their movement of the ball and their running off the ball are fantastic.

Barcelona’s passing was, as ever, lightning quick and incisive and their hugely impressive midfield pressing game is designed to never allow their opponents to establish any rhythm.  If any of their players are guilty of losing the ball then they take personal responsibility for their mistake and immediately try to win the ball back. It is hard to see how to counter a team who are so good with the ball and work so hard without it.

Real also still have no player who can produce a final decisive pass although the Barcelona midfield did not allow us any time to actually even consider this possibility.  In the first half especially,  neither of our full backs got forward much, primarily I guess because they were nervous of leaving space behind them which Barca would exploit.  This made us very lightweight in attack with no width, which isolated Agirretxe and Vela.

To be fair there wasn’t really any other option than to play this way as the home side are very adept at taking advantage of any space left available in the wide areas. Both of their full backs, Alves and Mathieu, proved that they are more than capable of starting attacking moves, and so even though Yuri and Elustondo were probably wise to concentrate on their defensive duties it still did not stop the Barcelona duo from claiming three goal assists in this game.

In the 58th minutes Eusebio introduced Oyarzabal in place of Canales and then 15 minutes later he bought on Hector, making his first team debut replacing Agirretxe.  I thought that after a slow initial 10 minutes Oyarzabal again showed energy and confidence.  He wanted the ball all of the time and was happy to take responsibility to try to direct our attacking play.   He really looks a fine prospect and I would guess is likely to be selected to start the Copa del Rey game this Thursday away at Las Palmas.  The match result was decided by the time Hector was introduced, And it was too late for him to really show what he can do. But he looked keen to get forward and again is likely to play a more major role on Thursday.

It was a privilege be in the stadium to watch Barcelona play with such verve and precision.  I doubt any team could have lived with them in this form but overall Real showed spirit and fight that often seemed missing under David Moyes.  I would comment that the home crowd are generally very quiet and do not create an intimidating atmosphere for their opponents.  However their team could not be more intimidating and I confidently predict that they will win the title this season by some distance.

Playing away at Barcelona has become a bit of a fools errand for Real Sociedad in the last 18 years, however I remain hopeful that one day, before it is time for me to shuffle off we will finally return home with something other than our tail between our legs!

Match statistics: Possession

56/44 in favour of the home side, we managed 10 shots of which 5 were in target and won 4 corners.  Disappointingly we had 5 players booked: Yuri (28 mins), Granero (37), Canales (48), Pardo (50) and Elustondo (56).

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