Osasouna PreviewBy: Bassam | September 10th, 2010
Hello everyone and Eid Mubarak! As Muslims, including my fast end the season of Ramadan and fasting and enter the 3 days of Eid and celebrations that follow, I choose to write a preview of the Osasouna game. Why am I doing that exactly? It’s my undying love for this club and for writing for this blog. No but seriously, Corey and Jordan are a bit busy before the game, so I offered to leave you guys with something so you have an idea of the game coming up. So, after completing a 6 hour Mcat exam yesterday, writing a simple preview should be easy eh?
It’s not, especially when you have Corey shooting out previews like he gets paid thousands of dollars to do it. Which doesn’t help is me not watching the first Osasouna game last week. No problem though, I will do my best to show you why we love Coreys previews so much. So here it goes.
First Home game of the season:
One of the things that make Mourinho soo “special” is his home record. He has never lost a home game in the last 8 years. That is impressive for any coach. Regardless of style as well. Pelle almost went the whole season unbeaten at home, only to stumble against Barcelona. Not only did he go unbeaten, but if my memory serves me right, it was all wins. To win La Liga, with Barca at the standards they are at right now, you can’t risk not winning every home game. You can’t risk drawing games. Every point will count. As many have mentioned before, 10 draws will not win you La Liga mister Mourinho. A win tomorrow is an obligation, just like it is every week. With the team coming up from international break after a disappointing draw against Mallorca, they have to be striving to open the goal scoring account for the club this week. And what better crowd to do it against?!
No, AS and Marca still print shit. After we all got excited that Morata might get some playing time against Osasouna, and after we saw four of our young guns train with the first team all week, we look at the squad list and we don’t see Morata. What the hell AS, I thought he was starting? Hmmm would AS and Marca print stuff that they are not a 100% sure of? I mean this is a newspaper and journalistic integrity is important…….. You get what I’m going for here? Yea moving on.
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Dudek and Adam
Defenders: Carvalho, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Arbeloa y Mateos
Midfielders: Khedira, L. Diarra, Granero, Xabi Alonso, Canales, Pedro León, Di María, Özil
Attackers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.
Pepe is back from injury and all of Lass, Marcelo and Ronaldo were able to get through knocks to make the squad list. As I mentioned before, Morata has not been included in the squad list, which is a shame because with Benzema being jaded from his midweek game, he could have made a late come on. Also disappointed Juanfran has not made the squad.
Biggest surprise for everyone is Ronaldo making the squad, after being mentioned to be injured until after the Ajax game. I guess all that training has helped him recover fast? Gotta admire his commitment. Although I do think the whole injury thing was over exaggerated so avoid him getting more injured on international duty. (think last year people).
Finally, Diarra doesn’t make the squad. Shame.
Real Madrid Line up:
Mourinho talks a lot in interviews, something I was not used to under Pelle. It is interesting and kinda nice sometimes since it makes the job of writing something like this easier. He did mention some of the starters. Ready to be shocked? Ronaldo will start. I don’t understand this move. It’s a home game against Osasouna, one right before our first CL game. Are we really going to risk one of our best players? Doesn’t make sense to me and doesn’t seem logical considering the circumstances. Unless there is something we don’t know about. Hmmmm. I wonder. I personally would have kept him for a substitute role in case the team needs him. Not smart to risk one of your best players soo early in the season. Especially against a physical side like Osasouna.
Mourinho also mentioned that Ronaldo will play against Higuain upfront. He said that Xabi Alonso will partner Khedira in the middle. He also said that Ramos Pepe Carvalho and Marcelo will marshal the defense. Finally Ramos where he belongs! You will notice the difference during the game when you have a force like Ramos bombing forward. Mourinho didn’t say anything about the other 3 remaining spots in the team. I am baffled who will play in goal. Adan had a good preseason, but I think Mourinho will go for experience with Dudek.
The remaining two places have soo many people going for them. Canales, Ozil, Di Maria and Leon are the four most likely to take a spot there. It’s one of Ozil and Canales. Having played two games in midweek and considering his age and probable lack of full fitness, I think Ozil will start. I am not sure who Mourinho will pick, but I think with Ramos at right back, he should go for Leon so they can bombard the right side of midfield together. Although, I really do think Mourinho fancies Di Maria more than Leon. With that said, considering Leon had nothing to do during international break, I think he will get the nod.
Here is how Mourinho will line it up:
Here is what I would put out:
I only excluded Ronaldo because I wouldn’t risk him. I didn’t include Diarra since he is not in the squad list. Had he been there, I would have used him since you can use a physical player like him in the squad especially against Osasouna who play really physical.
Osasouna Line up:
Osasouna is a team with no financial capability of throwing out signings like we do, but they do have a great ability of hanging on to their best players. Monreal, Nekounam and Pandiani have been with the squad for a while and they have been doing well. They did lose Azpilicueta, I player I really like. Him and Monreal made one of the best two full back combinations in La Liga. I also think, these two will be the future of Spanish football in that department. Josetxo, their first vice captain is out injured and I’m not sure he is going to make the team. In his place will be second vice captain, Miguel Flano. Here is how I think Camacho will line up his team:
I don’t think Camacho will go with two wingers against us, as he will look to counter, and Juanfran is a player that can help with this considering his speed. I would be happy if Camacho surprises me and plays both Juanfran and Camunas, dropping Punal in the process. That would make the game more open, although Juanfran is a winger that can fulfill his defensive duties well. Juanfran is a Real Madrid Cantera product, making 6 appearances for the main team. He usually brings his A game when he plays against us.
So what kind of playing style are we playing exactly? Its sad when I know more about Osasouna’s game style than my own teams. But that is what happens when you change coaches every year and when the new coach uses a different formation every game. I know one thing for sure though, we are not going to be winning the aerial battle in this game. Osasouna are very strong in the air, especially when it comes to their two center backs and defensive midfielder. Not only that, but now with Damia as the new right back, they have another aerial power from there. So passing should be the key here, not long balls.
If I see a weakness in the Osasouna squad, then its their right back. I don’t know if anyone remembers the old Betis squad, but Damia was a regular in there. I am not used to always seeing him in defense, as he is very versatile and can play in the middle as well. I have honestly seen him in the middle of the park more. He is not the fastest player, so Ronaldo should be able to out run him easily. He is also not the best defensively, unless Segunda division has made him better, which I doubt.
Whoever is going to play in the middle, either Canales or Ozil is going to bring his physical game up or else he will disappear. Soriano and Nekounam will rough you up to say the least. Osasouna is a very physical squad and they will do anything to stop our flow of game. This will get frustrating so the key here is an early goal. They will sit back, despite their goal keeper claiming otherwise, and they are good at doing that. Ronaldo will have a lot of chances for long shots, as I see the defense being tight as it can be. Soriano usually morphs into a third center blocking any runs. Their defensive line sits back very tight.
As for Osasouna’s attack, Pandiani is not the most skilful striker but he is a goal poacher. He is good in the air and a good finisher. He is the kind of striker that pounces on the little mistakes that center backs make, so Pepe and Carvalho have to be on the top of their game. Juanfran will be supplying to crosses and the dangerous runs and he will look to catch Marcelo off guard by creeping in from behind. The midfield will be very tight and hard to break through. I should note, our two center midfielders need to cover both Ramos and Marcelo when they make their forward runs or else we will pay for it.
Lekic is a new striker that they brought in and he will definitely make an appearance in the game. Masoud is also a midfielder that fits well into the Osasouna system and may as well make an appearance from the bench. Nelson, also a former Betis play will provide cover for the defense in case an injury happens.
So what to do to handle this Osasouna side? Wing play! I know Monreal is good, but the target should be Damia. Also, I think Leon and Ramos can give Monreal a very busy night if they both decide to bring their A game. Ronaldo and Ozil, who is known to drift to the left a lot, will also take care of the left side with the help of Marcelo’s forward runs. Ronaldo and Ozil will have to track back though as Juanfran will be looking to take advantage of Marcelo’s forward runs.
Higuain will have a difficult game in my opinion, with the two center backs he is facing against being very physical. Higuain and Ronaldo are also two players that need space to move into to, and Osasouna will make sure not to give them that.
I am worried about Ronaldo, since Osasouna have the solution for his trickery. They will beat him up. With him just coming off of an injury, I don’t know if that will be healthy for him. We will have to wait and see though. Let’s hope for the best. Last note, Xabi and Khedira will also have an interesting battle against the Osasouna midfield as Xabi is more of a technique kind of player than physical, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs against physical midfield players.
I hate doing predictions, but I will definitely say a win for Madrid. Camacho loves making it hard for us (he is a Madrid legend and was a coach for around 6 games I think?), so I don’t think it will be a high scoring game.
Hope you enjoyed this, I’m sorry I don’t have the time or the mental capabilities to match what Corey usually does so you have to settle for this. If you want though, here is Corey’s preview for last season, the team hasn’t changed much and the tactics are still the same.
Happy eid everyone and lets hope for a win!