Paul Murray’s Match Report / Real Sociedad – Celta
Paul Murray’s Match Report / Real Sociedad – Celta
Matchday 10 – Match Report – Saturday 31st October 2015
Real Sociedad 2 -3 Celta Vigo
Another disappointing home result for La Reala against a very well organised and robust Celta team. The visitors have been very strong away from home this season and continued that form despite being behind in two occasions.
Agirretxe opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a fine header from an excellent Zurutuza cross. These two players seem to be combining consistently well with Agirretxe reading the movement and subsequent crosses of Zuru really accurately. Zuru can put in a cross of high quality and this is becoming an important aspect of out attacking play. Celta equalised in the 17th minute when Iago Aspas got his toe to a Radoja shot deflecting the ball passed Rulli.
The first half was an even and open encounter with both sides attacking each other as the play swung from end to end. The Celta midfield switched the ball quickly between them making it difficult for our midfield to establish a rhythm. I thought we did not always press them quickly enough allowing them unchallenged possession.
Yuri was getting forward regularly which helped to counter the Celta midfield tactics and this resulted in Agirretxe’s second goal in the 37th minute, when after a strong run from Yuri he cross the ball low to Agirretxe who smartly turned it into the net. At half time the possession statistics were 48/52 in favour of the visitors, Real had managed 5 shots, 3 on target and had won 3 corners.
The game became a bit disjointed early in the second half with Real pressing better but with most of the action being played out around the half way line. The match changed in the 53rd minute when Zurutuza injured himself whilst over stretching to intercept a pass and put it out for a throw. He immediately looked uncomfortable and within 2 minutes this was to cost us dearly. He was unable to run to cover the deep cross from the right played in unopposed by Daniel Wass for Iago Aspas to head home. Aspas had run between our two central defenders, with neither of them picking him up. It was a good cross, great finish but poor defensive play from Inigo and Mikel. Zurutuza was blameless, but had he not been injured he would almost certainly have closed Wass down, making the cross much more difficult to make. That said we still should have defended better.
Zuru was substituted before the restart with Bruma coming on to replace him. I thought this a strange decision by David Moyes as Bruma is a right footed player and left footed Chory Castro had been a very effective substitute the previous week when he managed 2 assists in about 15 minutes. It also ignored the talents of Sergio Canales who is also a left sided player. I got the impression that Moyes wanted to make a bold statement to the supporters that he was going to attack and try to win the game. Against a hard working, well organised team that contains as much goal threat as Celta Vigo this was a risky strategy, and, to me, had all the hallmarks of a Coach trying too hard to win over supporters who had reservations about him.
I have never been a fan of fielding players on their wrong side. I believe it forces them to cut inside nearly every time to enable them to use their favoured foot, either that or they cross weakly and inaccurately. This makes them much easier to defend against as it generally narrows the width of the attack. With Vela operating in the same way on the right hand side this tactic must be compensated by the full backs getting forward and staying wide otherwise it means the attack become very predictable.
Just before the hour mark Yuri combined well with Bruma and shot from just inside the box to force a good save and a corner. Immediately after Bruma was put through from a fine Vela pass but was unable to control the ball properly and round the keeper as the ball fell to his non favoured left foot.
Carlos Vela spent much of the second half running with the ball diagonally trying to draw a foul. He often held the ball for too long and did not bring other attacking players into the action soon enough. It might have been useful for him to switch sides with Bruma but this did not seem to be ever considered. He also has developed a habit of going down too easily. He needs to avoid getting a reputation for this as referees will not take his legitimate claims seriously.
In the 84 minute Moyes introduced Jonathas for Agirretxe, but it was too late for him to make an impact and he hardly touched the ball. The winner for Celta came in the 89th minute when Pablo Hernandez was allowed to shoot virtually unchallenged from 30 metres. Bruma waved his leg at him as he crashed a great shot passed Rulli. Moyes reacted by bringing on Chory Castro in the 91st minute to replace Markel. Quite what Chory was supposed to achieve this late is completely beyond my comprehension.
Inigo covered and tackled really well during the match, his controlled aggression shows how much he has developed as a player since his early wild days. Rulli kicked long and into central positions for much of the game but the result of this often just gave away possession. Our throw ins were more positive again and often taken more quickly. I think we should further develop this tactic as it is very effective in unsettling the opposition defence.
Bruma played ok going forward but is really lightweight without the ball. His introduction meant we lost capacity to press their midfield which ultimately cost us dearly. Yuri had his best match, offering a lot going forward and also being more disciplined defensively. Prieto was totally ineffective and Zaldua did not get forward enough. The loss of Zurutuza was a major blow as his energy in midfield was sorely missed after his enforced departure. He is likely to be be missing for about a month which is a real problem for us as he is currently is our best player.
Overall it was an exciting match and Celta are a really good team, well organised and they move the ball around quickly and accurately. If they continue their current form they will challenge strongly for the European qualification places.
We are generally playing better and are now testing opposition goalkeepers with accurate shots. However it seems to me that David Moyes is confused as to what is his best team which after virtually a year in charge does not exactly inspire much confidence. His decision to replace the injured Zurutuza with Bruma instead of using either Chory Castro or Canales ultimately cost us one point and maybe all three points, as our defensive capability was reduced against a team who are know to score freely.
Final match statistics showed: possession 46/54 in favour of Celta, we has 13 shots of which 7 were on target, 8 corners and had 2 yellow cards (Zaldua 71 mins and Illarramendi 86 mins).