As Carlos Vela slalomed through a static Lyon defence to delicately chip home a fourth goal for Sociedad back in August, there were few doubts that the side were capable of beating some of Europe’s top sides. The Mexican’s second of the night in front of almost 29,000 Basques rounded off a 4-0 aggregate win for Sociedad over the French side on a wonderful night that perfectly capped off the previous 12 months of industry. A squad full of creativity, passion and nous were the young trendsetters in European football; the next big thing from behind the Real-Barca curtain. At least it looked that way back in August.
Sociedad exited the group stage embarrassingly early, a single point accompanying their sole goal in six underwhelming matches. Only Marseille managed fewer points but drawn in a group featuring Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli, that bore little consolation. The stats make for grim reading but the disappointment remains despite La Real knowing their fate weeks before the final game with Leverkusen.
The intangible reality of bowing out of a contest so early was tough but the reality was that Sociedad failed to contest at all. Although newbies to the competition in relation to the three teams sharing Group A, the path to the last 16 was visible and achievable amongst a vulnerable Manchester United side and two teams La Real could match; Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk. After 5 defeats however Sociedad did not even come close to finishing in a Europa League qualification spot.
Despite being the bridesmaid to the Champions League, UEFA’s sister competition would have better suited Sociedad in terms of quality and ambition. La Real could have asserted themselves more instead of adopting a defensive approach, much attributed to the cautiousness of rookie coach Jagoba Arrasate. New to the job, Arrasate has not found early life easy since taking the job in the summer and the mindful nature he has adopted to appease the fans has backfired significantly.
Arrasate claims that the team have learnt ‘so much’ from their brief Champions League campaign but it was painfully obvious that their naivety let them down from the first game and will have little effect on supporters. La Real needed to stand up to the Champions League and show enough courage to play the way that ensured their qualification and questions must be raised since they failed to do so.
For Arrasate now the job gets trickier. Sociedad began the season struggling near the bottom of the table and despite a mini-revival, the desire of both fans and players is fixated on the top 6 places. The fans want to put things right in Europe next season whilst the players want to be in the elite European competitions again. Players of Antoine Griezmann and Vela’s quality need to be playing in these tournaments otherwise they will go elsewhere.
Real’s Sporting Director Loren has recently had to field questions about the futures of both of these players, stating he intended to delay their exits as much as possible. This gives Arrasate a small window to secure European football again or risk further damage to his enterprising squad.
There are no distractions for the squad now but for a potential run in the Copa del Rey, so supporters will be demanding European qualification for a second successive season, a hefty demand for a manager in his first full season of management.
hollister deutschland online shop
michael kors bags outlet
mulberry sale bags
mulberry uk sale
michael kors sale uk
mulberry sale bags
chaussures christian louboutin
timberland pas chere