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Oscar Plays Full 90 In Leganes’ 1 - 1 Draw At Mestalla

Some notes on Oscar’s performance against Valencia this evening.

Leganes pick up a draw against Valencia, and get their third good result in four matches as they hold on to a point at the Mestalla tonight.

And Oscar has been a focal point in all four matches — starting in the first of these string of games against Barcelona while scoring the winner, and growing in influence in Manuel Pellegrino’s scheme.

Tonight, Oscar had a relatively quiet match, and that had a lot to do with the way Valencia were pinning Leganes deep at times. But Pellegrino’s men held a compact 4-1-4-1 (or 4-5-1 at times) without the ball, and were able to twine together a good number of passes when they retained possession. Oscar, as always, started on the left-hand side, and Leganes like to have him a bit narrow defensively so that he can pop up as an outlet in transition and always be available to start counters.

Leganes didn’t create much. Their attacks were rare. Oscar had an influential couple minutes though which led to his team’s opening goal. It started with a cut-in and shot from the left flank:

Just minutes later, after Oscar hit the deck hard in the box and stayed down, the referee, with the help of VAR, confirmed that the play should be recalled for a penalty — ultimately leading to the game’s first goal:

Again, this wasn’t a highly eventful game from Leganes from an offensive perspective, as their biggest talking point was Dimitrios Siovas’s brilliant performance at the back (three interceptions, 11 clearances, six tackles, two blocks), and Ivan Cuellar continuing his good run of form this season in net.

Real Madrid’s other loanee in the Leganes squad, Andriy Lunin, has yet to play, and it’s hard to see him getting many minutes with Cuellar playing so well this season and really rounding into form.

The Managing Madrid squad were spread thin today, and naturally, given Chelsea played at the same time as Real Madrid, we were unable to cover Kovacic — but will do our best to go back and watch film to provide a better analysis on Tuesday’s loan-tracker podcast.

Kovacic did start against Manchester United, and played 68 minutes before being replaced by Ross Barkley. Even in just those 68 minutes, the Croatian had the most touches of anyone on the field alongside David Luiz, and completed 96% of his passes — the most of any starter on the pitch.

Kovacic’s heat map vs Manchester United. Via WhoScored

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