In the third game of the La Liga season, Levante came out as 2-0 winners with two goals in the closing phases of the game. Real Valladolid played in a 4-4-2 with a high block and pressed the midfield a lot, committing a lot of numbers and creating overloads. Their midfield was very compact with two very different roles in central midfield, and at times shifting to a diamond, and looked to spread the ball wide into space once they won the ball. Levante exploited Real Valladolid’s high line and got in behind and did manage to create some good chances, but the away side struggled on the counter to create any big chances other than one that was disallowed for offside.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average, don’t follow up
- Nationality: Ghanian
- Age: 21
- Date of birth:
- Current Club: Real Valladolid
- Career: Real Valladolid
- Position: Centre Half
- Preferred foot: Left
Salisu had a strong defensive performance. The 6’3″ well-built defender rarely pressed out of the back line other than to clear long balls aimed at the opposition striker. He is strong and physical with a good frame but could still add some muscle. He was very strong in the air throughout, both in midfield and inside his own box. He has great body positioning when the opposition are in crossing positions and reads play well to block or cut out crosses and long balls towards his goal.
He was an active defender in terms of adjusting his positioning and scanning the pitch. His marking was mostly good as was his decision making but for the second goal he left his man to mark another player unnecessarily and was a poor decision, however, he did gesture to his left back behind him to mark the player he left which the full back should have done better at, but overall Salisu didn’t need to leave his man.
He’s a powerful runner and surprisingly fast for his size. He did well to stop long balls that went over the top of their high line and worked hard with high intensity.
On the ball, he played simple passes with average technique which could be crisper. The left footed centre half took too long on the ball at times to make decisions, inviting pressure and then having to rush. He tried several longer passes, either down his flank or switches of play and none came off. They were usually overhit and went for opposition throw ins.
A really strong defensive performance but needs to improve on the ball to step up successfully to Europe’s best teams. However, this was very early in the season and his third game at senior level.
- Nationality: Spanish
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 13/09/1999
- Current Club: Real Valladolid, on loan from Manchester City
- Career: Girona, Manchester City, Real Valladolid (L)
- Position: Right Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Porro took advantage of the narrow midfield and the right midfielder constantly moving centrally, often finding himself in space on the right. He made good charging runs into space to receive switches of play, which he did very well with his chest or right foot. He provided good width and with good pace on the ball with tight control he could travel into space and advance the ball.
He put in a few dangerous early crosses to the back post but his crossing closer to the byline was less of a threat and he always didn’t make the right decision. He did well to create space for himself in wide areas to cross or pass inside but didn’t try to take on his man or get to the byline.
His short passing game was crisp and evaded pressure well but made a few riskier forward passes which didn’t come off and could have retained possession better but in a quite a direct team he is encouraged to play risky balls behind the line.
Porro mostly defended long balls well, with good reading of danger and defensive positioning. One big chance for Levante came from his positioning behind too wide and a runner being allowed to go into the gap between him and the right centre half.
Defending the wide areas, he was quite poor. In 1v1s he put his hands behind his back straight away and didn’t close his man enough. He was more focused on trying to block the cross from a distance which worked a few times but allowed space for good crossers to bend it round him and getting his angle right was crucial. He was a passive defender who jockeyed and didn’t actively try to win the ball back and was bypasses quite easily at times. In tighter 1v1s, his defensive footwork was poor and he too easily reacted to feints and dummies, planting his feet while the attacker went to the other way.
A strong attacker who is good technically with a good athletic profile but was poor defensively this game and needed to do more to stop balls into the box.
- Nationality: Turkish
- Age: 22
- Date of birth: 10/05/1997
- Current Club: Real Valladolid, on loan from Villareal
- Career: Bursaport (Y), Manchester City, Genk (L), NAC Breda (L), Twente (L), Villareal, Real Valladolid (L)
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Right
A weak game for Ünal where he was largely chasing long balls and fighting to win headers off long balls, which he wasn’t successful at. When Ünal gets the ball, he shows some quality with his control and first touch but doesn’t get many touches of the ball. He lacks the physicality and aggression to be an effective target man and didn’t provide much hold up play.
In the box, he looked to drop back off his defender and into space, putting one shot from a cutback just wide of the post. Although he showed some signs of good movement and positioning, he lacked the killer instinct of a top striker and didn’t want to make darted runs to attack crosses.
By the end of the game he was looking very uninterested and casual when he wasn’t involved in play. He could have some quality to him but is struggling to show it in this side which I don’t think suits him.
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