UD Almería – Match Report vs FC Cartagena (2/1/2022)

After a streak of 15 home matches without a loss UD Almería lost three points at home against FC Cartagena last Sunday (0-1). Because of a covid outbreak in the Almería squad missed over ten players against Cartagena. Almería manager Rubi said that Cartagena had agreed to postpone the match, but that it wasn’t possible according the Spanish FA.

Rubi’s Almería lined up in a 4-2-3-1, but had even more to worry about when ‘makeshift’ striker had to get subbed off injured after 16 minutes and was replaced by defender Sergio Akieme. Both sides struggled to create good chances, but it was the away-side to open the score. In the 39th minute Almería goalkeeper Fernando Martinez completely misjudged an in swinging corner from Álex Gallar which was tapped in by left back Gastón Silva at the second post.

In the second half it never really looked like Almería was going to come back into this game. They mainly just missed quality upfront and at times Cartagena demonstrated how to kill a game to near perfection. Despite the loss UD Almería still hold the lead in La Liga SmartBank with a three point lead on second place SD Eibar and a game in hand.

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

Javi Robles

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 03/10/2000
  • Current club: UD Almería
  • Career: UD Almería
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

It was a big surprise for me to hear during the game that the match against FC Cartagena was Javi Robles’ first start in the league for Almería. Robles joined Almería’s academy in 2010, before getting up by Real Madrid’s academy in 2015. Two years later Robles returned to his hometown club.

Javi Robles played as the left sided defensive midfielder alongside Lucas Robertone, but often was the lone number ‘6’ with Robertone having more freedom to move forward. Looking at Javi Robles it felt like he was playing at this level for a very long time already, whilst it was just second start for the club. The 21-year old was very confident on the ball, always trying to pick it up to start the build-up for Almería. At times Robles would drop back between the two centre backs to lead the build-up from there.

Technically I almost only saw positive things from Javi Robles against Cartagena. He didn’t get pressed very often by his opponents, but when he did, he remained calm and didn’t lose the ball. Even in the final third there were a few moments where he showed some real composure and beat his man with some nice footwork. Javi Robles kept his passing relatively simple and played most of his passes short and over the ground, which he did well.

Off the ball Javi Robles also put in a very strong shift. The midfielder positioned himself very well intercepting a good amount of balls and supporting his full backs when they needed it. He covered a lot of ground and did very well in his defensive duels. With his 6’2” with quite an average build he used his physique very well. He wasn’t really tested in the air this game but showed good timing on a few defensive headers.

Rating – A2

This was my first time seeing Javi Robles in action and I surely keep my eye on him. Robles looked like a very exciting prospect in his first league start. I hope Rubi gives him a lot more minutes this season so he can nicely develop himself.

Alejandro Pozo

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 22/02/1999
  • Current club: UD Almería (On loan from Sevilla FC)
  • Career: Sevilla FC, FC Granada (Loan), RCD Mallorca (Loan), SD Eibar (Loan), UD Almería (Loan)
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Right Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

Alejandro Pozo played at right back for UD Almería and was really enjoyable to watch. Later on in the second half it almost looked like a lot of the Almería players already gave up, barely pressing Cartagena, but Pozo kept his work rate up throughout the whole game. He is not the biggest physically, standing at 5’9”, but he did very well defensively. He was very aggressive in his duels, but only make one foul in the whole game. Pozo pushed quite far up the pitch and recovered the ball quite far up the pitch for his side multiple times. His questionable moment defensively, was during the 0-1. Even though the goal was mainly the goalkeeper’s fault, Pozo could’ve defended Gastón Silva better.

Pozo’s work rate also helped his team out offensively. He made a lot of overlapping runs on the right and put in a couple of very dangerous crosses, yet without a real striker there was no one to finish them. Pozo looked very fast and beat his man a couple of time by accelerating faster than his opponent. His distribution was good throughout the match, showing good passing range, but he made the occasional error when he was put under pressure. His technique would let him down at times in small spaces and he made a couple of mistakes while dribbling.

Rating – A2

Alejandro Pozo looked like a very exciting offensive full back. His drive and workrate combined with his solid pace make him the ideal player for a lot of sides. I hope he can get some experience in La Liga after this season. Sevilla might be a step too high for him, however he could do well at some of the mid table teams.

Arvin Appiah

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English/Dutch/Ghanese
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 05/01/2001
  • Current club: UD Almería
  • Career: Nottingham Forest, UD Almería, CD Lugo (Loan)
  • Position: Right Winger
  • Secondary Position: Left Winger, Striker
  • Preferred foot: Left

Video editors who make Youtube compilations on football players, probably can make a whole video on Arvin Appiah with only footage from this match. The English winger made some spectacular dribbles, but his inconsistency was almost frustrating to watch at times. Appiah is 5’9” with a pretty lean build. His agility and unbelievable acceleration on the first meters made him a nightmare to defend at times. Appiah started out as right winger for Almería, but also played on the left and even as striker at times.

On the ball Appiah looked really strong most of the time. He kept the ball very close to him when dribbling even running at high speed and was easily able to change direction sprinting with the ball. When he saw the opportunity he tried to knock the ball past his opponent and just run past him. The only way his opponents were able to stop Appiah at times, was just by fouling him. He was fouled five times against Cartagena and forced two players to pick up a yellow card after dribbling past them like they weren’t there.

With only one assist in 447 minutes in the league this season I expected his end product to just be very poor, but he actually put in a couple of dangerous passes. His passing was quite tidy overall and he didn’t make that many errors with his passes. There were multiple moments however where he simply didn’t look concentrated at all. There was one moment in the first half where he didn’t control quite a slow pass near the sideline and lost the ball. One a different occassion he received the ball with a man behind him and instead of just playing a simple one touch pass, he tried to beat that man. He lost the ball, which seemed to really frustrate a few teammates. Appiah’s work rate defensively was quite low, but that could also just be his stamina since he seemed to be completely out of energy after around 65-70 minutes.

Rating – B2

Arvin Appiah might have the highest ceiling off all of the players in this report, but he also has the most work to do. His end product wasn’t just quite good enough and I felt like he wasn’t active enough off the ball. Also mentally he seems like he has quite some steps ahead.

Arnau Puigmal

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 10/01/2001
  • Current club: UD Almería
  • Career: Espanyol, Manchester United, UD Almería
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Secondary Position: Right Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

I can keep this one relatively short as Arnau Puigmal probably played one of the worst games of his career. He played as attacking midfielder and on the right wing for a bit. The 20-year old was barely involved in the play and only completed five of his nine passes. He had a very hard time receiving the ball on Cartagena’s half and lost most of his duels. He had one promising moment in the second half where he beat his man, but his shot with his left foot went just over. In the 62nd minute Puigmal went down with cramps and not long after he was subbed off.

Rating – D

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