Sunday, February 03, 2008
Vela’s education in Spain includes defensive play in the rain
By 1970’s Gooner
Osasuna lie 16th of 22 teams in the Spanish La Liga table with 23 points, the same as Athletic Bilbao and La Corunia . All three teams are perilously close to the drop zone with only goal difference separating them from the third bottom club Real Murcia.
So the style of play that Osasuna usually adopt is a rather conservative one with a defensive formation which relies on the counter attack and dead ball situations to get something out of the games.
It nearly worked last week against Sevilla when a draw looked the likely outcome until an extremely harsh penalty was given against them in the 94th minute.
Osasuna adopted the same tactics again in their away game against Barcelona which was played under what can be described as English weather conditions.
The rain was continuous and sometimes turned torrential. They eventually lost the game to an 84th minute goal by substitute Xavi.
Carlos Vela’s education in Spain (apart from playing under rain) unavoidably includes, more often than not, learning how to play at both ends of the field. And against Barcelona he had to spend most of his time tracking back to help out his left back.
They both had to deal with either Lionel Messi or Bojan Krkic two very agile, tricky and pacy forwards. And he was a very willing defender working very hard to come back and then once receiving the ball to take it forward and try and gain time and space for his beleaguered defenders.
He was sometimes running into blind alleys instead of holding the ball up but he wasn’t helped by a lack of colleagues to pass the ball to.
Even then he was “clever” enough to win the free kick as his pace and ability to run with the ball meant that he could only be stopped by a foul.
This kind of education will stand him in good stead when he begins to play in the Premier League.
Most teams, inclusive of Arsenal, defend from the front with all 11 players, especially the wingers, under detailed tracking back duties often doubling up against the opposing winger.
Vela is indeed getting invaluable first hand match experience in tough games in one of the top and most competitive leagues in the world.
This is a real education indeed which will work in Arsenal’s favour in the not too distant future as I am sure from what I have seen so far that he will be a quality addition to the Arsenal squad when he joins up next season.
Vela is ready for the Premier League Walcott not yet