Espanyol has presented its particular horror film to Sant Sebastià. The cinematic genre that can be used to describe the start of the season for the defense of Diego Martínez’s team has once again accompanied the white-and-blues at the Reale Arena (2-1). Against a Real Sociedad with sharp fangs, Espanyol has once again committed a series of glaring mistakes which, for a change, have ended up paying dearly.
It didn’t matter much that Diego Martínez changed the drawing: Espanyol continues to be too generous with its rivals. The reviews of the match at the Reale Arena will not leave any of the Spanish players standing still. Starting with the goalkeeper, an Álvaro Fernández who gifted Kubo with bad control in the area which allowed the ex-Blaugrana to assist Sorloth, who opened the can to pleasure. Moving on to the defence: despite playing with three centre-backs for the first time this term, they continue to leave holes. Cabrera, already without a captain’s armband that Darder has left, was once again portrayed in the second local goal, in which he was stuck and allowed Brais to enter the area without opposition. The full-backs, unable to be deep, have suffered greatly with the ball at their feet despite being able to act as laners.
Nor has the midfield been better, which has only been understood in the equalizing goal. Two minutes after the 1-0, Darder teamed up with Expósito in a corner served short. The shot from Cubelles, low and centered, was deflected by the forest of legs of the Real Sociedad defense, bothering Remiro enough for the ball to end up in the back of the net. From here on, Espanyol has had no midfield to build or destroy. He has again exerted pressure without ideas in the middle, and Joselu and Braithwaite have made a kind of fight with the centrals and throw unmarked, a dark work that this time ended without reward.
If the performance of the white-and-blue players has been dark, not much better has been the management of a Diego Martínez who has not been very lucky. Neither the initial game plan nor the Galician’s changes (Espanyol ended up playing with two midfielders and four forwards) have served to overturn the result or the image of a team that continues to be too soft in both areas and lacking ‘ideas in the middle of the field. Espanyol have defended better in the opponent’s field than in their own, but they have not been able to take advantage of their opponent’s numerous losses, unlike what has happened with Real Sociedad. Rude mistakes are paid very dearly in Primera, especially in those teams that do not have a striker who ensures them 15 goals per season. Espanyol needs a center of guarantees, more creativity in midfield and arguments to attack on the wings, but until the winter market arrives it needs to find solutions to the obvious problems left by the summer window. Basing everything on what the January signings can bring would be a mortal sin that the white-and-blues cannot afford to repeat. Because it might be too late.