At the halfway point of the season, Castilla somehow were in reach of the playoffs after a very mixed first half of the season. Individual performances at times had been excellent, but as a team Castilla just couldn't keep a run of results going. If they regrouped at the halfway stage of the season and kicked on from there they could have found themselves towards the top of the table by now, but 4 games in they still look as unpredictable as ever. Today marked the visit of Gernika, the team Castilla drew with 0-0 back in September.
Castilla XI: Zidane, Achraf, J Sánchez, Abner, Seoane, Valverde, Febas, Muñoz, Enzo(C), Campuzano & Díaz #RealMadridCastilla pic.twitter.com/Geo7KPas0F— RM Castilla Stats (@CastillaStats) January 28, 2017
They were a physical side, and with added suspensions to Tejero and Hermoso, Solari came up with a makeshift starting 11 consisting of 5+ central midfielders. Valverde slotted into centre back whilst Muñoz and Díaz started as wingers. A total of 4 players out of position. Castilla started decent with nice spells of possession, but it quickly became obvious that besides Febas there was a lack of attacking creation in the team. They put in some good crosses but going through the middle they created very little. Febas had a strong penalty shout denied but apart from that I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that the half ended goalless.
Mi "ojo de halcón", al nivel d la decisión arbitral contra el Castilla. @VCampuzano10 es el de la línea roja. Gol anulado por fuera de juego pic.twitter.com/2UY9HI4cgt— Virginia Díaz (@VirginiaDiaz412) January 28, 2017
The second half was an improvement, but Castilla still struggled to break the deadlock. At the other end Luca Zidane pulled off some fine saves to keep Castilla in it. The one time Castilla did score through Campuzano, it was somehow ruled for offside in a shocking decision. It just wasn't going to be Castilla's day, and this was confirmed when a late shot from the inactive Sergio Díaz flew just over. The game ended 0-0 and it feels like another 2 points lost as Castilla fall further and further away from their goal.
A few problems arose from watching this match, whilst some problems I had already spotted were just reinforced. The first problem being Solari's unpredictable tactics. I like Solari as a manager, as I like nearly every Castilla manager, but I can't help but feel Castilla's poor run of games this season has been greatly influenced by some of his experimental formations and ideas. Playing midfielders and strikers as wingers when we have perfectly able wingers available does not seem ideal to me... A similar but perhaps greater issue is that of Sergio Díaz. I had never seen someone come in and make such a world class impact as Díaz, and he quickly established himself as Castilla's biggest goal threat and top goalscorer. Not long after Solari decided to field him as a winger, or an attacking midfielder, and to nobody’s surprise the goals dried up — as did Castilla's early form. Watching Sergio be so ineffective today, purely due to positioning, made me wonder what Solari thinks when he see's that. It only damages the development of the player and the team’s results.
Man of the match for today's game went to magic man Aleix Febas who produced yet another wonderful performance. It won't be his last I'm sure. Other top performances included Achraf who is in the 1st team squad for tomorrows game, Luca Zidane who put in yet another strong performance, and the centre half partnership of Fede Vaverde and Javier Sánchez, helping Castilla to a rare clean sheet. Amazingly, as it stands, Castilla are still only 1 point away from a playoff place. They travel to Leioa next week in an attempt to get back on the right track! I'll be sure to have you covered! It feels good to be back.