Sporting played Girona at home with the obligation to win to open a gap with the relegation places against a rival in playoff positions. With the return of Abelardo to the local bench, he returned to the concepts of pressure after loss, direct play and the importance of the wings in the offensive phases. 10 minutes into the game, José Gragera made it 1-0 from a corner, shortly after Girona equalized through legendary striker Christian Stuani and before the break the final 2-1 was scored, work of Uros Djurdjevic after a good play by ‘Puma’ Rodríguez. Sporting varied their line-up system, with a 4-2-3-1 in the first half and a 4-4-2 in the second.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

José Gragera

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 14/05/2000
  • Current Club: Real Sporting
  • Career: Real Sporting
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Preferred Foot: Right

José Gragera had a great performance in the crucial game against Girona. Beyond his goal after a corner taken by Pedro Díaz headed with precision –one of his main qualities– the young midfielder from Gijón displayed his abilities with and without the ball throughout the match. Playing as a defensive midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation alongside the aforementioned Pedro Díaz, he was the key player on which the team sustained itself in the defensive phase, even positioning itself as a central defender on specific occasions. Hard in duels, both in the air and on the ground, he knew how to limit Girona’s talented midfielder, Samu Sáiz, who had to move his position to the right wing to avoid José. His 186 centimetres are of great help for this destructive phase of the game, especially in aerial duels. In duels on the ground, he falters much more since his physique is not too imposing to solve this type of action successfully. Despite his height and size, he accompanies them with agility and precision when making tackles. Not very fast and without good acceleration, he relies too much on his tactical intelligence and good positioning to deal with rival attacks. Despite this, he suffers from disconnections and a lack of concentration that leads to errors in marking.

In the offensive phase, José was the first link to string together the attacking plays. He embedded himself between the central defenders, Borja López and Juan Berrocal, to help get the ball out. Already with the team settled on the half of the opponent, his combinative ability in short passes lost effectiveness since the options were much less due to Girona’s low block. With that match situation, he tried to look for more direct passes -both on the ground and long- than usual to break the rival’s defensive lines and find the attacking midfielder, Fran Villalba, or even the striker, Uros Djurdjevic. He missed more times than he found his target, but one of those attempts ended in a very dangerous action that defender Bernardo had to clear, earning a corner kick. Furthermore, in counterattack actions, he demonstrated tactical intelligence and quick thinking to choose the most beneficial option for the play. With the ball at his feet, José did not complicate himself at all: he avoided advancing or dribbling, always choosing the pass option.

Rating – A2

José Gragera is one of Sporting’s most interesting young projects for the future and he’s also part of the Spanish U-21 team.  He has the intelligence and positioning necessary to counteract his lack of speed, and his technical skills with and without the ball make him a player with the quality necessary to play in LaLiga if he becomes more consistent and puts aside the dips in performance.

Guille Rosas

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 17/05/2000
  • Current Club: Real Sporting
  • Career: Real Sporting
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Guille Rosas returned to the starting lineup after a lengthy muscle injury and did so in a highly demanding match. Still, he could last 90 minutes of the game despite being quite tired at the end. In the build-up phase, Guille opened up a lot to the right flank, sticking close to the side-line, albeit in a further back position compared to the left full-back. With the ball at his feet, he does not tend to dribble past his marker but prefers to combine with the closest midfielder, resulting in a high percentage of successful passes. His style of passing is, therefore, short and tense passes. In any case, when it comes to moving the ball to the opposite side, he does it with great success and precision. He has good ball control and usually plays in one or two touches. In attacking actions, he showed his acceleration, speed and ability to overlap the winger in search of crosses or passes back, in what is one of Sporting’s usual plays. Thus, he reached the final meters on multiple occasions and generated a lot of danger with floating crosses to the far post.

With the high pressure that Sporting imposed on Girona’s ball output, Guille was very important when marking left-winger David Juncà. He did not lose his back at any point in the game and kept the right flank as an unbreakable sector. Strong, fast and with good positioning, he won the vast majority of duels. All of them on the ground, since he does not have the height nor the necessary jumping reach to consistently win aerial duels. Together with José Gragera he was the most relevant player in the defensive phase. He did not commit any foul, was not dribbled past on any occasion and also made an important clearance after a lateral cross. He also has very good acceleration and a brilliant ability to react, which is of great help to recover his position in transition. Last but not least, he has a mentality unbecoming of his age. Despite not having the captain’s armband, he acts as if he were, being the first to protest to the referee, encourage his teammates and give tactical orders.

Rating – A2

The Spain U21 international Rosas is a fullback with a lot of potential. He is temperamental and prone to injuries, but with incredible physical capacity and great judgment in defensive actions. If he manages to improve his offensive facet, he can become a high-level player for the first division.

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