Damn that international break.
I came away from this game strangely nonplussed. I wasn’t brutally disappointed as in the Braga tilts. There was no lack of effort or passion from our side, just that strange feeling one gets sometimes when you realize that its just not gonna be your day. Gijon came out like a team desperate to escape the relegation zone; they would have been a tough nut to crack for any side coming off the 2 week break today.
We chased the game from six minutes, when Renato was beaten to a long cross to the box and Sanjoy finished with a very nice long header back across the goal. We had some chances, namely LuFa not pulling a sweet ball down effectively in the 6 and having it tackled away and Alfaro having two low shots headed for the corner tipped around the post. Palop didn’t really have a thing to do in the first half save pick the one ball out of his net.
We came out storming in the second but committed a second serious mistake when two defenders (Alexis and, I think, Konko) chased one attacker to the end line but neither opted to close him down. A quick cross and a sweet backheel (benefit of the doubt here) found the way across the goal mouth, off the post and in. Palop was busier in the second half, made one fantastic save, and we never really sustained pressure for long.
Our glaring problem was again apparent: we do not have a creative attacking center midfielder. Renato was paired with Romaric and did nothing for 90 minutes. Guarente came on in the 52nd and was also ineffective. It didn’t help matters that Perotti was definitely off today–caught in possession numerous times and strangely reluctant to shoot. As for our man LuFa, well: he went 90 minutes, he made some nice runs, his touch was definitely heavy.
Questions coming out of the match:
Are LuFa and Negredo suitable to play together? Whither Kanoute?
Are Alexis and Escude the slowest center back tandem in La Liga when paired together?
Where is Dabo? Where was Zokora today? Why is Renato still seeing time? Who can create in the middle of the field?
This game didn’t reek of disaster. Yes, we lost, but as I said before, sometimes it isn’t your day, and that is how this game felt to me. Worrying harbinger of a trend or just chalk it up to one of those days? Guess we’ll find out Thursday in the Great White East.