The Jade Rabbit 5: The Jade Rabbit: Reloaded.

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Welcome back.

If you’ve read the most recent two posts, you’ll see that we’ve drawn 0-0 and lost 1-3 with this formation. I went in to detail about how the formation was actually meeting my expectations, but we were unlucky with the results. I continued the formation for another 6 games with the following results

The highlights/low lights of that run of games are below.

vs, Llagostera: We had five passes around the back, well away from the chasing opposition players, before spraying the ball out to Jaime Diaz, whose mazy run took him past the full back and in towards the goal, but his shot was lacking.

vs. Ibiza: 1.) This was our first goal from open play with the new formation. I’m so happy with the movement of Diaz as the raumdeuter as his movement out on the right led to the cross that 16 year old striker Nicolas fired home on the volley. We’d just promoted him to striker as our previous striker couldn’t finish a good meal. 2.) The movement involved here is possibly the best I’ve seen so far, the passing between the MC/DM/DC strata was good and the ball out to Diaz let him do his thing, which led to him being unceremoniously being bundled over in the box.

vs. Levante B: This was a massive defensive lapse. We did well in moving out to close down the cross, but the fact that their winger drifted away from the covering centre backs so easily is a point of concern. We were extremely lucky that they mis-timed the header and we were able to clear. It’s probably one of the very few times that the defence has been breached in this manner.

vs. Castellion: This as a very poor result, but it was the same as the Castilla result earlier on. We conceded two goals from set-pieces (alarm bells are ringing, Willy!). But the crowning turd in the water pipe was the catastrophic error committed by our centre-back. The pass back from the cut-out cross was woefully short and the opposition striker seized on the chance gleefully. Other than that, we looked OK.

So we closed out the season with winning the Segunda Division B3. This would put severe pressure under the formation going up to LaLiga Smartbank, as we really didn’t have players of that level.

2023/24 LaLiga Smartbank

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Our first away game in LaLiga Smartbank since 1966 was a source of trepidation. Being as we’re only recuiting from FC Barcelona rejects and running with our youths, we’re not got the talent to compete with the teams relegated from LaLiga Santander, so it’ll be interesting. First game was against UD Logrones.. Let’s see how that went.

U.D Logrones (12th) A

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4 Minutes: This is one of those highlights where I can’t decide whether it was a weakness in the play or just a bad error by one player. A long ball out of the opposition defence finds the winger. Our left-sided BPD comes in recklessly and lunges into a tackle which is easily skipped. His cross was cut out by three of our players, but not cleared. The ball fell to a Logrones player who slipped it sideways to an unmarked winger whose shot seemed to be fumbled into the net by Tena.

22 Minutes: Playing out from the back is working well for us. Not once have we been exposed by it. The lovely passes between the BPD and BWM give the Mezzalas and BBM to move out and the ball played out to Diaz was excellent. His run into the box was stopped as he was fouled at the byline. This gave us a penalty which new signing Peque scored.

27 Minutes: A run at our defence by their striker should have been stopped, just past the centre circle, but the striker blew past the BWM. Our BBM was tracking the run, but his tackle was again off. It did, however, push the striker out wide before he shot at a low-percentage angle. It’s worrying that we’re being breached so easily. I know we’re on a bend-not-break theory, but we also can’t be giving up chances like that. The BBM has a tackling of 8, so is that the reason why the tackle wasn’t successful? *ponders*

64 Minutes: This is again, poor play or great work. The ball was played out wide, to our plan. However, a deep cross to the opposite edge of the box found the opposition winger, who hooked a sidefooted volley into the far corner, giving Jon Tena no chance. The winger was free again. Is that a defect or is it because Logrones’ wingers are their best players?

71 Minutes: This was again, Jaime Diaz working his magic. A run from his own half, slipping a tackle and nearly rounding the keeper to finish. It’s exactly what I’m looking for in the Raumdeuter position if he isn’t setting others up.

92 Minutes: Mezzala running at defence. Raum and AF combining in a 1-2, leaving the Raum free to fire at the goal and it took a magnificent save for them to deny us the win.

Conclusion: The second tier is going to be a lot harder on the formation than the previous league. But it gives me more scope into the flaws that I see and makes me think about changing them. Let’s play one more match and find out if which way it falls.

S.D Huesca (5th) A

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This was the worst game that we have played using this formation. We were battered from pillar to post, with the following result.

Look at the shot totals. They were appalling. We had two personnel changes in the usual line up in the game. First of all, our main threat Jaime Diaz was serving a two-game suspension for a straight red in the last game, so Nicolas was moved to his role on the right. We have two players in training for the Raumdeuter role, but neither are ready to play in the league. Also, I brought in a less-talented mainstay of last season into one of the BWM roles to see if the connection would help (Spolier: It didn’t)

The lone goal conceded was again, scored by a winger. This time however, a delicate chip into the box by the opposite winger was nodded on by their striker, a 6’4″ monster who towers over our centre backs by 4″!, (Our CB’s are 5’8″, 5’11” and 6′ respectively) into the path of the open winger who finished easily.

So the lack of Diaz and the possible lack of height of our defenders doomed us in this one. I think some changes are definitely needed going forward and I’ll report on them in the next installment.

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