Paul Murray´s Report / Real Sociedad 2-0 Villarreal
Match Day 16 – Real Sociedad 0-2 Villarreal – Match Report
Sunday 20th December 2015
In the final game before the short Christmas break, Real suffered another disappointing home defeat inflicted by a very well organised Villarreal side. Although the home team enjoyed the majority of the possession they were unable to turn this superiority into creating goal scoring opportunities, managing only 4 shots on target.
Real appear to lack any creativity and are seemingly unable to unlock a defence well protected by busy midfield players who are playing an effective pressing style. Villarreal came to steal the points by playing a counterattacking game. They allowed the home team to dominate possession around the halfway line, but managed to hold them there. The visitors were confident that their game plan would create a few goal scoring chances and they were correct with Dennis Suarez scoring both of their goals, one in each half.
In the continuing absence of David Zurutuza the home team have no one who is prepared (or capable) to play a long diagonal pass to a wide player, creating space behind the opposition full backs. Our wide players, in this game Bruma and Vela, are playing on the wrong sides to their recognised favoured foot. This is causing them to always cut inside when attacking their defender, making them predictable and resulting in our attack becoming very narrow.
Main striker Imanol Agirretxe needs a good cross to exploit his proven ariel ability, in the way Bilbao do with Aduriz, but he is denied this service by the tactics we continue to employ. If our wingers are to play in this formation then they can hardly be considered wingers. But to compensate for this lack of width our full backs must overlap and get to the goal line to cut the ball back, but this also does not happen.
Current right back Aritz Elustondo seems to stop his forward movement at the edge of the penalty area, rarely using the final 18 metres. First choice player in this position is the long term injured Joseba Zaldua who is quicker and more adventurous in his attacking play than Elustondo, who’s inexperience is apparent.
That said Elustondo has generally acquitted himself well in his primary defensive duties. With greater experience, his confidence will increase and he is likely to correct this deficiency in the attacking aspects of his game. On the left side both Yuri and De la Bella seem nervous to get to the by line in case they are caught out by a counterattack, and in any event the standard of any cross they supply is often mediocre.
The first goal was caused by 2 Villarreal players pressing our midfield about 35 metres from goal. They won the ball and Dennis Suarez ran straight at Diego Reyes who inexplicably choose to back off and not offer a challenge. Suarez accepted his invitation and fired home from 19 metres. Reyes’s hesitation in making a tackle is not what you would expect from an experienced international defender and is maybe a contributing factor in why Porto were happy to let him leave on loan.
We did create a good chance in the first half when Canales crossed the ball in for Agirretxe who had got behind the defence, but his glancing touch was unable to beat the Villarreal keeper. We ended the first half 0-1 down.
The second half began with Real quickening the pace and advancing a further 15 metres towards the Villarreal goal. Much of the play was concentrated in the final third of the pitch and our percentage of possession increased. However the Villarreal midfield continued to cover their defensive colleagues very effectively, and as we did not really use the wide areas of the pitch they were able to contain us comfortably.
In an attempt to alter things Eusebio introduced Prieto in the 57th minutes for Granero, Jonathas for Bruma on 71 minutes and finally Hector for Yuri in the 81st minute, but these substitutions had little effect and despite some decent efforts we were unable to penetrate the Yellow Submarine’s defence.
The final straw come in the 88th minute when following a period of sustained pressure by the home side Villarreal’s Dennis Suarez broke free and rounded Goal keeper Rulli who had inexplicably advanced about 45 metres from his goal line. Suarez skipped passed Rulli and comfortably slipped the ball home to end the game with an impressive 0-2 win for the visitors. They did not look like a team who had failed to score in an away fixture for nearly 3 months and they returned home with all 3 points.
Quite what Rulli thought he was doing so far out off his area is beyond most people’s comprehension. He was never going to make a decent tackle on Suarez without risking a red card. His actions were irresponsible and although it did not affect the overall result, as the game was all but lost anyway, it was a unacceptably poor decision from a keeper who no longer looks as solid as initially thought.
The match statistics showed that Real had 60% possession, 15 shots, of which only 4 were on target. We won 9 corners, conceding only 1. We received 2 yellow cards: Canales (40 mins) and Inigo on 56 minutes.