Both Theo and Achraf featured in Friday night fixtures prior to the winter break. Both started at left back and played the full 90 minutes.
Theo vs Alaves:
Real Sociedad have been a shadow of the team of years past, one that once challenged for European places. Garritano was seen as an astute appointment, but he has failed to get this Sociedad side hitting their former glory. Theo’s performances are impacted by the overall system and team performances, which simply put, have not been good.
Another week, another disappointing Sociedad result. Juanmi is so wasteful in front of goal, Illara hasn't been himself all season. Janujaz and Oyarzabal can only carry so much.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) December 21, 2018
Alaves cap a great 2018.
It was a 1-0 loss for Theo and the boys, who were at home in Anoeta agaisnt high flying Alaves. Theo had moments of both good and bad in this match. The good: the fullbacks ability to ignite attacking transitions. On more than one occasion, Moya would save a shot or pick out a cross and quickly distribute the ball out left to Theo. Within 3-4 striding sprints with the ball, Theo has burned his marker and moved the team from their own box to the oppositions. As Jorge Valdano has eloquently stated in the past, Real Madrid’s style is to get to the oppositions box as quickly as possible. Theo is the perfect fullback, in transition, for attacking vertical and direct play. Needless to say, those were encouraging signs.
Now, the bad: Theo’s inability to recognize danger on defense and play with a sense of urgency. A prime example of some of these poor habits, Theo misplaced a pass and rather than hound the opposition and sprint back to win the ball, his attitude exemplified the opposite. His attitude was laissez faire; no urgency in his play. Multiple moments in the match, Alaves creates danger but Theo fails to react accordingly. There is still a lot to improve on the defensive side of his game.
Passes: 42 (81% PA)
Key Passes: 1
Crosses: 5 (Accurate: 1)
Shot: 1 (1 OT)
Achraf Hakimi vs Borussia M.Gladbach:
Theo will be looking over his shoulder, as competition for the left back position at Real Madrid has only increased. Sergio Reguilón has been a revelation and Achraf Hakimi is now the undisputed starting left back for the Bundesliga leaders. Dortmund won yet again 2-1 over Gladbach. Achraf, as has been so often the case this season, was heavily involved and amassed the second most touches (111) after two consecutive games with the most.
Dortmund’s opening goal had Achraf’s fingerprints all over it. The Madrid loanee intercepted a poor pass and quickly sent an inch perfect long ball forward to Marco Reus. Eventually the ball found Jadon Sancho, and the Englishman (who has been simply unstoppable this season), dispatched the ball into the back of the net.
All night long, Achraf motored up and down the left flank. His speed and engine are joy to watch. I mentioned it on one of the last loan tracker podcasts with Kiyan, as good as this Dortmund attack is, there defense is even better. This young backline are all in sync and cut out any danger that comes there way. Dortmund have been a team in fire in 2018, but 2019 will be the real test as they look to close out the season.
Passing: 87 (88.5% PA)
Key Passes: 1