Goal Analysis: Pablo Sarabia – Atletico Madrid 1-1 Sevilla 12/5/2019

Goal Analysis: Pablo Sarabia – Atletico Madrid 1-1 Sevilla 12/5/2019

Sevilla spread the ball out from the right to Aleix Vidal on the left wing and he plays it along the line to Franco Vazquez.

Sarabia goal
Sevilla switch play out to Vidal on the left
Sarabia goal
Vidal plays the ball down the line to Vazquez

Juanfran gets out quickly to him though, making it difficult for him to dribble or send in a cross. Angel Correa also comes back to double up on him, although he fails to block off the pass back to Vidal. With the odds not in his favour, Vazquez simply sends the ball back to Vidal to recycle the ball.

Sarabia goal
Juanfran gets to Vazquez quickly. Correa comes back to double up but leaves the pass back to Vidal open
Sarabia goal
Vazquez returns the ball to Vidal

Munir El Haddadi, originally marked by Diego Godin, had made a run out wide in support of Vazquez though. The Uruguayan initially follows Munir but, not wanting to get dragged too far from the centre, leaves him as he moves behind Juanfran – a wise move given that Roque Mesa starts a run into the box the second a gap opens up between Godin and Francisco Montero.

Munir keeps this position and shows for a pass as the ball goes back to Vidal and his teammate plays up the option, moving inside with the ball to create an angle for the pass. This, along with Godin now having to pick up Mesa, forces Juanfran to tuck back inside, hurrying across to get close to Munir so he doesn’t pick up the ball in space.

Sarabia goal
Juanfran moves inside to pick up Munir

Vidal instead plays the ball out to Vazquez again. Whereas the first time Juanfran was immediately on top of him, here Vazquez has space. Having ran inside to pick up Munir, Juanfran has to turn a full 180° and sprint back out to get anywhere near Vazquez, who is able to gear up for the cross easily. He also has more targets this time around: only Wissam Ben Yedder had been in a goal-scoring position before, but now he, Mesa and Pablo Serabia are available and Munir is hovering around the edge of the box in case of any knockdowns.

Sarabia goal
Vazquez receives the ball in space.

With Juanfran unable to get across in time, Vazquez sends a looping ball to the back post where Ben Yedder and Sarabia are. There’s a mix-up in the Atleti defence though. Godin moves across with Mesa and as the ball is crossed Montero is with Ben Yedder and Filipe Luis is with Sarabia.

Sarabia goal
Vazquez has space to cross. Godin picks up Mesa, Montero picks up Ben Yedder and Luis picks up Sarabia

However, just as Vazquez releases the ball, Montero moves across to close the gap between him and Godin, leaving Luis alone at the back post with two attackers. Luis moves across to get tight to Ben Yedder, although he doesn’t get goalside of him, and this means he ends up getting caught under the ball as it goes beyond him, allowing Sarabia to finish behind.

Sarabia goal
Montero moves across to close the gap between him and Godin. Luis moves across to pick up Ben Yedder
Sarabia goal
The ball goes over him
Sarabia goal
Sarabia finishes

It’s probably important to state that Montero hasn’t made any out and out mistake here, but the unit hasn’t communicated effectively enough to ensure its effectiveness. The intention to close the gap between him and Godin makes good sense, however it’s not strictly necessary in this instance: there’s no one attempting to make a run between them and, even if there were, Koke is in a good position to spot them. He and Luis could have easily stayed with Ben Yedder and Sarabia respectively and won their headers or at least denied the attackers the space to do anything with the ball.

Montero moving across could still easily work though. If this were to function, it would require Luis to come inside earlier and get goalside of Ben Yedder – the Frenchman is in a more dangerous central position than Sarabia so stopping him should be the priority. If the ball fell to Ben Yedder, Luis would be in the best position to stop him and, if the ball goes through to Sarabia, he’s in a position to block the shot.

As it happened, Luis doesn’t seem aware that Montero is leaving Ben Yedder until it’s too late, comes across but doesn’t get into a good position, then, realising the ball is actually going to the man he’s just left in space, overcompensates by trying to cut the ball out in the air. If he had simply dropped back rather than trying to get the header, there’s a good chance Luis would have blocked the shot, but he’s understandably panicked having been left alone with two players and gifted Sarabia the space to finish.

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