One of the low-key stories among Real Madrid loanees this season is the (perhaps surprising) leap that Oscar Rodriguez has taken of late.
Two seasons ago, Oscar was with Juvenil A. Last season, he didn’t impress much with Castilla. This season, he didn’t feature at all with Leganes early on until Manuel Pellegrino gave him a shot off the bench in the 72nd minute at home against Villarreal. In the next match, away to Eibar, Oscar got 27 minutes off the bench. Leganes lost both matches, but Pellegrino liked Oscar’s cameos, and opted to start him in the next match against Barca, in which he impressed and scored the game-winner. He’s started every match since, including in tonight’s 1 - 0 win over Rayo Vallecano, where Raul de Tomas started on the opposite side.
And, Oscar looked really good.
Pellegrino deployed Oscar on the left flank, where he was used as an offensive funnel — getting plenty of touches and patiently waiting for onrushing teammates he can play a pass to. His five key-passes were a game-high as he always looked to create offensively, and his work on the flank to unnerve Rayo’s right-back Advincula was really helpful for the team. Against Betis last week, Oscar didn’t do much defensive work in aid of his left-back Jonathan Silva; but tonight it was the opposite:
Oscar — unsurprisingly, being the dead-ball specialist that he is — takes all of Leganes’ set-pieces, and came close to scoring in the second half with a direct free-kick:
He also should’ve done better on a great chance in the area, after he found himself on the end of a great pass from Michael Santos:
Oscar ended this one with 54 touches, five key passes, four shots (game-high), and a team-high 86.7% pass completion rate.
Raul De Tomas, meanwhile, had the opposite influence for his team. And that’s not on him. This season, Rayo have struggled with their build-up and, de Tomas can often find himself isolated. Though he generally does well to find shots and goalscoring opportunities from nothing, tonight he was really a non-factor, and Leganes were very efficient defensively. De Tomas touched the ball just 14 times, and just couldn’t get involved in this game.