Real Sociedad – Match Report vs Osasuna 14/06/20

As La Liga returned, Real Sociedad were disappointed with a 1-1 draw against 11th placed Osasuna. Dropping two points when every point counts in the race for top 4 of La Liga and Champions League football. Sociedad set up in a 4-2-3-1 which was fairly flexible and moved into a back three in the second half for periods of the game. Sociedad were good on the counter, able to attack quickly through the middle, and counter pressed when they lost the ball. Osasuna were able to score a penalty in the first half but didn’t threaten that much going forward.

Ratings:

  • 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, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Mikel Oyarzabal

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 21/04/1997
  • Current Club: Real Sociedad
  • Career: Real Sociedad
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary position: 10 / Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Playing on the left wing, the Spanish international had a fairly quiet first half but grew into the game and got into several big goal scoring opportunities. He was only able to finish one, which equalised for Real Sociedad.

He’s a good athlete and stands at 5’11” with a slim build. He had great changes of speed, able to decelerate really well. With a good burst of pace and agility also, he worked hard throughout the game, tracked back well and supported the counter attack with good forward runs. However, he did lack physicality and wasn’t that strong in the challenge, losing in shoulder-to-shoulder challenges.

He was elegant on the ball, with very tight control and took lots of touches on the ball in 1v1s. He was patient 1v1 and wanted to commit the defender but didn’t show much to beat his man and could have used feints more to try and force them to commit earlier as if they were also patient he ended up slowing the attack. He had great ball retention under pressure and while getting fouled with tight control.

Playing on the left but he tended to be fairly narrow and want to make runs into the centre. One good chance came from a clever diagonal run behind the line which was very well timed. His goal came from a counter attack where he made a simple forward run in the blindspot of the last defender, was put 1v1 with the keeper and was very composed with his finish. He showed some creative passing including an excellent throughball to put a teammate behind the line on the counter which had great weight and showed good vision to see the run and pick the pass to split the defenders.

Rating – A1

Mikel Merino

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 22/06/1996
  • Current Club: Real Sociedad
  • Career: CA Osasuna, Borussia Dortmund, Newcastle, Real Sociedad
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Playing in the double pivot, he made a rusty start but grew into the game. Playing as the box-to-box player, he worked hard throughout the match, covering 11.1km in his 82 minutes on the pitch. He pressed well in midfield and was selective about when to support the attack. He would either support it from deep and was an outlet option who was also ready to counter press when the ball was lost in the final third and to breakup the counter. He also made some good late runs into the box and at 6’2″ was a physical threat to try and meet crosses.

He was a good presser, able to break up with midfield and stayed on his feet, able to hassle attackers and stop them progressing the ball with his positioning. He could overcommit a little with his aggressive pressing and if they opposition was aware with good reactions they were able to take their touch round him. He had decent pace and acceleration, able to cover ground but was slower to turn on occasion.

In possession he didn’t offer himself to the defence that much but dropped into spaces at times. He did head checks and had a solid touch most of the time but could have been slightly cleaner. He took one heavier touch which lost the ball receiving facing his own goal early on in his half, but as I said he grew into the game. He showed good awareness to play first time passes and was able to play balls into the channels and saw runners. He often received side on and could have done more to face goal and open up his hips. When he did face goal though he displayed some good line breaking forward passing and was able to access his attacking teammates between the lines and into the striker’s feet. He showed some good lofted passes into the box often the defensive line as well which had good weight. Overall he was technically sound but didn’t travel with the ball that much and wasn’t the most elegant player in possession.

Rating – A2

Igor Zubeldia

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 30/03/1997
  • Club: Real Sociedad
  • Career: Real Sociedad
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary position: Centre Midfield / Centre Half
  • Preferred foot: Right

Starting the game in the double pivot, Zubeldia was the more defensive player who screened the back four and broke up play without pushing forwards. In buildup he often dropped between the centre backs to control play from deep and then ended up playing as the centre centre back in a back three out of possession as well and didn’t push forwards.

He’s 5’11” with an okay build and average pace and athleticism but was fairly strong in the challenge. He took inconsistently progressive touches and grew in confidence and his ball playing improved with it. His passing wasn’t the crispest and was accurate and fairly smooth and was played some good medium distance passes into midfielders between the lines and into the striker. He didn’t show much range of passing and his one attempt to switch play to the left back was too high and floated too much and was easy cut out.

He had good positioning and put his body into the opposition and hassled attackers well but didn’t press out much with much intensity but covered across the pitch well and sensed danger. Playing as the central centre half for much of the game, he had a fairly quiet game out of possession with Sociedad having 65% possession and didn’t have that much defending to do.

I thought he had a solid game and would like to see him again just playing in midfield and therefore seeing his ability to break up play in midfield to be able to see if I think he could make a step up, but for now I’ve given a B1, although my initial verdict was A2.

Rating – B1

Robin Le Normand

Player Profile

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 11/11/1996
  • Club: Real Sociedad
  • Career: Brest, Real Sociedad
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary position: Centre Midfield / Centre Half
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing as the left centre half, Le Normand had a good game. He covered the wide areas well, able to cut out long passes and read play well to react quickly and put in well timed challenges. He defended in a high line well and did okay to stop or slow counter attacks.

In possession, his touch was fairly clean and he inconsistency carried the ball into space but without much conviction or speed. His passing was largely simple and wanted to use his left back or circulated it to his defensive partners. He completed a few forward passes to break the first line of pressure but throughout the match Sociedad didn’t have much deep midfield support and had to try and access the attackers behind the opposition midfield line. Le Normand did an okay job at times but could have done more to push into space and open up his hips more to play forwards.

In his box, he showed very good awareness and scanned constantly to watch his man. He was well positioned to cut out crosses and made a lot of clearances. He was active and showed good concentration but lacked aggression and ‘bite’ you want in a centre half, reminding me of Andreas Christensen in that aspect.

Rating – B1

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