Bilbao Post-Mortem

Our run of generally confounding and uninspiring form continues.

That we picked up our first loss of the season away at San Mames isn’t particularly surprising.  What’s more troubling to me is seeing a team look so disjointed and without a sense of strategy or purpose.  That was not a strong Bilbao team and we could’ve done better.

It’s too bad, because I’d hoped that our fantastic result (if not performance) in the derby might’ve inspired us to greater performances.  If you missed the guest post/recap from Colin Milar then go back and read it.  It’s awesome.  But, unfortunately, Betis would not prove to be the galvanizing launch pad to lead us to our first away win in A YEAR AND A GODDAMN HALF.

There were a few good signs.  Nasri looked great and deservedly got our goal.  Mercado still looked good.  And…  After then, it gets thin.  Correa really didn’t contribute much of anything.  Fernandez didn’t seem to fit the system.  Kranevitter was nowhere near the midfield boss we need in that position.  Sirigu losing his mind (though Aduriz is a cheap bastard) and getting a red card.  It’s getting a bit discouraging.

Anyway, don’t mean to be too negative or down, but at the moment I’m not seeing much progress.  By no means panicked, it’s all still very early, but our pre-season and the Espanyol match suggested we at least had a style we were going to strive for.  I’m surprised Sampaoli abandoned it so early.  Yeah, we lost to Barca and Real Madrid, so does everyone.  I think playing that in your face style as we did against Espanyol would steamroll teams like Eibar or even Bilbao and we’d end up doing very well in La Liga.  With this tepid, disjointed style we’re playing now… I’m not so sure.  Hopefully the team shows more midweek at the RSP against Lyon.

Comments 9

  1. Sirigu should never play for us again. Apart from the rush of blood that caused the red card his distribution is awful. As for Kranevitter I didn’t realise he was playing until I saw him enter the field for the second half.

  2. Post

    a lot of ppl have said they thought his distribution was terrible. i didnt have that impression (but was only half watching). he seemed comfortable with the ball at his feet at least, unlike rico who always seems tense.

    the red was…. idiotic. but aduriz was being a cheap bastard crashing into him unnecessarily. and im surprised that was a red. so much worse stuff happens all over the field. he elbowed him on his shoulder. its not like he hit his head or actually threw a punch. but no real complaint on the call, he deserved it. but the game was lost at that point anyway. we lost because we were the worse team and rico wouldn’t have saved us last night (i dont think… though maybe. he’s pretty good).

    1. The issue with the distribution is that we insist on playing diagonal passes to the intersection of the midfield and sideline, which we rarely win in the air, and which the defender can simply attack and head the ball over the heads of the centerbacks straight back toward the keeper, leaving us very exposed to a striker sneaking in behind and getting a free 1 v 1. It’s even more dumb because the two usual targets are Kolo and Vitolo, both of whom are adequate in the air but no where near known for their ability to flick the ball on. I don’t know what this is supposed to look like when it’s done successfully, but it’s the same thing that Rico was struggling with earlier this year (at least he was just kicking it out of bounds instead of leaving them short and exposing us to a quick counter).

    2. i see. i think i saw the few he connected on. but definitely saw he was more aggressive with his passes from the back whereas rico has gotten super conservative with his kicks and just plays it to a back or, boots it. (which is totally fine by me).

  3. Emery once said that he would rather win 4-3 than 1-0. After our first game against Espanyol I thought that would be Sampaoli’s philosophy as well, but something weird has happened since that game.
    Yes, it made sense to focus a little bit on our defensive play, which has definitely been better since that game, but it has without a doubt taken a lot of our attacking focus to do so. There must be something in-between where we have some fluid attacking football and actually create some sort of chances, but without giving away one chance after another.
    I think Sampaoli needs to make his mind up: does he want us to keep a clean-sheet or does he want to score goals and play a little risky?

    It is of course possible to combine those two which I actually think/hope is what he is trying to do. I think he wanted us to play like we did against Espanyol, but after seeing how vulnerable we were in the back, he decided to change course a little bit: instead of starting off with dangerous, attacking play, he wanted to create a solid foundation from the back. There is still a lot to work with defensively, but it’s going the right way. And we already know how to keep possession, so i wouldn’t be surprised if we in the near future began seeing some of that attacking play, we all are so desperate to see.

  4. Nice comments everyone.Interesting points.Well,i have to mention two crucial things for me..1)I said it before,but,..its too early for safe justments.ok?not because its 26 of Septeber,but its a NEW team.We are a new team.Its funny, but we had 5 points in 6 games last year,with a blend team,a coach who has been here 2 and half years,and now we have 11 and a draw in Juve away in C.L.That means something to meL:A more clear plan,more confidence and maybe luck,which we dindt had in last year’s beggining.Even our away image it’s different so far,althought we didnt win yet.2)in this particular game,when we tie the score,Sampaoli gave me the impression that he wanted the game,he put Vitolo and Mudo inside,before the 2-1,we had possesion of the ball,and confidence.Then that Balenziaga scored the goal of his career,Sarabia missed,Sirigu @*&&*!!!!F&& and the rest is history.I mean we wanted the game,we didnt sit in the draw,a good result after all.That is progress for me,and if we had,Vietto or Ben Yedder before,maybe we had the 3 points.
    Also its seems that Vitolo and Mudo are not in a good form,and the are very very crucial players.Lets hope this will fix tommorow.!
    I am very optimistic,and it seems that this years Liga wil be very very interesting in all spots!

  5. great points all around. i appreciate josele’s big picture perspective and also niller pointing out that while the offense looks bad the defense has been increasingly more solid despite a bunch of injuries.

    i just am frustrated to not see week to week improvement. of course, a valid point is that week to week improvement is unrealistic and you have to look month to month instead in order to really see these trends.

    but still, the degree to which people look lost or not playing in a coherent system is worrying to me. even if its not working 100% properly id expect to be able to identify some type of system. i dont even know what we’re trying to do out there.

    1. It must have something to do with the rotation as well. How many times have we played the same formation with the same (or nearly the same) line-up in two games in a row? I don’t know whether it’s a question about fatigue and thus we will be rewarded greatly later on in the season, when most of our best players are still in great form, but it must be kinda frustrating if you play a perfect game and then the next week you are placed on the bench. I don’t know, but it might be a factor…

      At this point I am not even sure what our best line-up is. Rico, Carrico, Rami, Mariano, Pareja, Escudero, Sarabia, Mudo, Nzonzi, Vitolo, Vietto must by now be some of those who have performed the best? Nasri, Kiyotake, Iborra and Mercado have shown glimpses of brilliance and are surely knocking on the door to being regular starters. It’s awesome we have this depth and Sampaoli thinks it is deep enough to be able to rotate as much as he does, but I still think it is possible he is rotating too much!

  6. Sampaoli’s excuse will be that we’re in an experimenting phase… and it’s true. Perhaps we need to give this team time… would 1 season be long enough? To be very honest, I’d rather have my Sevilla play like vs. Espanyol…. score 5-6 goals and HOPE (or try hard) to not concede more than 4-5. This is how it should go with this team. The moment we take the foot off the ultra-attacking pedal, we can’t even make a shot on goal. The dominance at home vs. weaker teams doesn’t count… as we are way better than them on paper. Let’s try the vs. Espanyol match tactics on an away match, or starting from tomorrow night vs. Lyon…. we’re still experimenting right? So why not?