A Look at our Rivals
T A C T I C S
La Real is a breath of fresh air. Dynamic, joyful, coordinated. The orderly chaos of Real Sociedad. An inspiring balance between the freedom such talents need to express themselves, and the sensibility in each of the moves to make each piece be a gear of a highly structured engine.
What's fascinating is that the 'txuri-urdin' present certain traits of the Positional Play or Juego de Posición. They use the different heights of the midfielders and attackers to advance as a block and reach the box in advantage.
It's interesting how they move in build-ups. In the asymmetrical 4–3–3, the pivot, which often is Zubeldia or Guevara, drops deep between the CBs. The midfielder to compensate this is Mikel Merino, who then acts as the secondary pivot. Oyarzabal comes inside from the LW and behaves as the left interior with Ødegaard on the right. Portu and Willian José stay upfront. These harmonised moves guarantee that the ball possessor always has a clear passing lane ahead of him.
There are many key men in this team, but I want to focus on the often overlooked Mikel Merino. As the 23-year-old said, this 'undoubtedly is the best moment of my career'. Overshadowed by the other CM, Ødegaard, Merino is fundamental by giving Alguacil this tactical flexibility and offering variants on and off the ball. With Ødegaard, he doesn't have the responsibility of being the main creator, but he provides an extra bit of control, arrivals into the box and defensive commitment.
The mobility of Oyarzabal and Portu is spectacular too. Portu, a natural RW, can even act as a 'mediapunta' at times, especially when they are chasing the game with Willian José and Isak as the front 2.
For tomorrow's match, CB Le Normand will be suspended, so Zubeldia will take his place at the back. This implies that one of my personal favourites, Guevara, will be the (delicious) DM. The rest is immovable:
Zaldua · Zubeldia · Diego Llorente · Monreal
Ødegaard · Guevara · Mikel Merino
Portu · Willian José · Oyarzabal